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Are You Well? Are We Safe?

Framing the Issues

Alan Johnson | Social Policy Analyst
The Salvation Army Social Policy & Parliamentary Unit
From the Director
February 2019 Are You Well? Are We Safe?






We welcome your feedback

PO Box 76249, Manukau, Auckland 2241 Appendix

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Framing the Issues
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Are You Well? Are We Safe?

This year’s State of the Nation, ‘Are You Well? Are We Safe?’ examines
whether the elements necessary for New Zealand’s communal wellbeing
are present in the right measure. This is an opportunity to celebrate the WORK & INCOMES
good, but to also recognise where more mahi is required.

Our motivation for this report is Jesus’ challenge to love God and to CRIME &
love our neighbours. Wellbeing must never be a self-centered pursuit; PUNISHMENT
it is our communal responsibility to care for each other.

In launching this report, we invite you to play your part to ensure SOCIAL HAZARDS
that all of your New Zealand neighbours are both well and safe.



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The Prime Minister has announced that the 2019 Budget
will be New Zealand’s first ‘well-being budget’. This is her
While these concerns do not translate into universal truths,
they are a basis for a shared vision for our country—an idea OUR CHILDREN
government’s attempt to mark out a different pathway of the things we should have more or less of. But more than
for New Zealand—one which is not just focused on short- this, in a caring society, we need to collectively provide a
term economic matters, but also on long-term social and framework of support, based on some shared values that
environmental concerns. allow individuals and families to flourish with the freedom

The Salvation Army applauds this broader focus. To this

to determine their own lives, as far as possible.
end, we have been offering New Zealanders, and our The State of the Nation Report 2019, from The Salvation
Government, the annual State of the Nation reports since Army, is our initial contribution to this discourse around
2008, in the hope that we would broaden our public well-being. In presenting this contribution, we hope to
discourse to include an expanded social dimension. encourage public debate around the sorts of things we as
New Zealanders hold dear. The title of this year’s report— CRIME &
But as you consider the idea of ‘well-being’, you quickly
come to appreciate that it is not a straightforward, easy to
Are You Well? Are We Safe?—for us, encapsulates the idea of
well-being. These two questions are at the core of our well-
grasp, all agreed concept. Our first challenge is to define
being, and, as well, this sense of inquiry conveys the notion
what is meant by well-being. In fact, most people would
that we are concerned about others’ conditions, and that we
agree that individuals and their families should define their
have things in common.
own concept of well-being and not the Government through
documents like Budgets. We are hopeful that with this more expansive well-being
focus we will as a national community come to more fully
To a large extent, this idea of individual self-determination
acknowledge the social dimensions of our lives, and to value
is justified, but it does not get us very far in helping to
the environmental resources we depend on.
design public policies and in deciding collective priorities.
Moreover, there are things which are justifiably ‘good’ or
‘bad’ regardless of an individual’s preferences or values.
Thank you for your support and ongoing interest in our work.
Lieutenant-Colonel Ian Hutson
None of us wish to see children living in poverty or being
Director—Social Policy & Parliamentary Unit
exposed to violence or neglect, and none of us want to live
in communities blighted by crime or addictions. Endnotes


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ARE YOU WELL? ARE WE SAFE? Are You Well? Are We Safe?

The Salvation Army’s State of the Nation reports have been well-being. These efforts are coalescing around Treasury’s
published since 2008. At the time of the report’s conception, Living Standards Framework and Statistics New Zealand’s
the project was seen as a way of tracking our social progress
as a nation. In undertaking this work, The Salvation Army
Indicators Aotearoa programme.
Creating a broader more holistic focus for such things as
was attempting to introduce and highlight important social
values—such as equity and inclusion—into the public government budgets and public services is, however, no
discourse. easy task. This is in part because the things being measured
here are often quite different—water quality and child
A great deal has changed in this public discourse over the
intervening 12 years. We believe our State of the Nation
poverty, for example. Furthermore, a comprehensive system
of reporting well-being indicators can quickly become
reports have contributed to these changes; for example, complex and difficult for most citizens to understand
the previous government introduced its ‘Better Public and, even perhaps, be interested in. A recent article
Service Targets’, which, by the admission of the former by Dan Weijer and Phillip Morrison in Policy Quarterly 1
Prime Minister Sir Bill English, were in part modelled on the
indicators offered in the State of the Nation reports.
identified this problem of public engagement. They CRIME &
However, this programme of setting and measuring
have suggested that the big idea of ‘well-being’ needs
to be both understood and engaging, if it is to have any PUNISHMENT
targets for public services had mixed blessings. This was success in shifting public policy discourse toward social
in part because those responsible for delivering services and environmental concerns. They also argue that this
and for generating improvements were also responsible challenge of, in-effect, popularising well-being as an idea, is
for measuring and reporting progress. Sometimes
improvements were reported without any apparent change
a community-wide one and not just the job of government
agencies, such as Treasury and Statistics New Zealand.
in the outcomes seen on the ground; for example, the
We agree with this argument and so see the State of the
reported reduction in rates of child abuse and neglect.
Nation Report 2019 as being The Salvation Army’s first
The current Government has adopted a more expansive contribution to making the idea of well-being better
and ambitious programme to ensure that public policy
and Government’s resources are more broadly focused on
understood and appreciated by New Zealanders. This is not
to say the 2019 Report aims to deliver the Government’s
social and environmental outcomes. The Prime Minister has message around well-being; The Salvation Army wishes to
announced that the 2019 Budget will be New Zealand’s first offer a more limited and perhaps more succinct version of
‘well-being budget’. A number of government agencies have well-being—one which concentrates on social outcomes and, Endnotes
been busy developing conceptual frameworks of well-being, specifically, the outcomes experienced by the poorest and
alongside ways of measuring progress toward improved most vulnerable New Zealanders. Appendix

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The State of the Nation Report 2019 largely follows the In reality, the State of the Nation reports are basically Are You Well? Are We Safe?
format of previous reports, and reports on 26 indicators of a collection of publicly available statistics with some
well-being that cover five areas of social policy interest. The summary evaluations attached to them. These reports
modest difference in the 2019 report is in how these areas could just as easily be published by a government agency,

of interest are framed, and in the summary evaluations of rather than an NGO such as The Salvation Army. The move
indicators. by Government to reporting its intentions and achievements
against a broader well-being framework may eventually
Given the array of ideas behind well-being indicators— make The Salvation Army’s efforts here redundant. We
dealing as they must with such different things as water expect, however, that this may not be the case, given
quality and child poverty—it is not possible to have a single the Government’s broader focus on the lives of all New
number to report progress, such as that of GDP growth.
Instead, the evaluation and reporting of progress across the
Zealanders—not just the poorest and most vulnerable, as
well the temptation for it to accentuate any good news and WORK & INCOMES
spectrum of well-being will, by necessity, be interpretative down play the bad news.
and narrative. Also, through necessity, such evaluation will The value of a public policy discourse around the broadly
involve weighting and judgement, which can of course make defined ‘well-being’, remains to be seen. This value will
the claimed results more contentious than having a result
reported by a single number. This risk of contention was
be either damaged or enhanced to the extent by which CRIME &
always part of the State of the Nation reports and nothing
the results reported and claimed are credible and match
people’s lived experience. This value is also measured by PUNISHMENT
has changed in this respect in the 2019 Report. what we learn from our successes as well as our setbacks.

The State of the Nation Report 2019 frames its five areas Many contributions to our well-being are only vaguely
of policy interest around outcome statements, which we related to what successive governments can or should do.
believe describe or define what we, and perhaps many other
New Zealanders, see as social progress. These outcome
For this reason it is important that we see the results—
both good and bad—as belonging to all of us and not
statements are as follows: look to blame or credit successive governments solely
for the outcomes. Our social progress will be the result of
Our Children: All our children are safe and doing well Government’s efforts as well as those of us as individual
citizens—as families and as communities. Our expectations
Work & Incomes: Our growing prosperity is fairly shared

Crime & Punishment: Our homes and communities are free

here are important as well, as these shape our efforts and
sacrifices and decide what we will and will not tolerate.
from violence and crime
The Salvation Army anticipates that the State of the Nation
Social Hazards: Our homes and communities are free from Report 2019 can offer New Zealanders insights into our
addictions and related harm social progress, and the efforts and sacrifices still needed
to make us the prosperous, just and sustainable nation we
Housing: We all have housing which is healthy, safe and secure. Appendix
hope to be.
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OUR CHILDREN Are You Well? Are We Safe?

This section outlines a number of trends around the well- this failure, but it may be due to changes in the way
being of our children, adolescents and youth. The range of citizens interact with public agencies—such as Statistics
indicators used to outline these trends has changed a little
over the past few years, mainly to ensure that changes that
New Zealand. It may be the case that as citizens we
are becoming more reluctant to participate in social
most accurately describe this well-being are captured. surveys and to share information about our lives in such
In the State of the Nation Report 2018, we introduced surveys. This reluctance may especially apply to the most
teenage suicide as an indicator. This inclusion was made vulnerable New Zealanders. If this is indeed the case, in
the near future and as a society, we may find it difficult
for two reasons. The first is that suicide rates are a good
barometer-type indicator of how other areas in a society to have an informed debate over important social trends WORK & INCOMES
are functioning; for example, mental health, social such as child poverty, because we simply don’t know. If
engagement, economic opportunity and hopefulness. and when this happens, the marginalised, and especially
If we are a healthy society socially and culturally, then marginalised children, become more marginalised.
fewer people would end up taking their own lives. The
second reason is that suicide data was published more CRIME &
frequently and more immediately, so this data was more
useful in providing insights into the state of our society
and communities.
For the State of the Nation Report 2019, we have dropped
infant mortality as a reported indicator, although it is
still monitored in our background work. Recent changes SOCIAL HAZARDS
in New Zealand’s already low-infant mortality rate have
been quite small. There is a point when reporting a rate
has little value as an indicator because, when the change
is small, it does not draw attention to background social
conditions that need to be addressed.
The greater emphasis now being placed on child poverty
is applauded, as is the bi-partisan political support given
to this issue, as a priority. What is disappointing is that
in 2019 we don’t have much to say about child poverty Endnotes
trends because we don’t have enough information from
official sources. It is difficult to identify the cause of
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CHILD POVERTY in minimum-wage legislation and Working for Families

Are You Well? Are We Safe?

Unreliable data means that child poverty trends are Table 1 reports changes in the numbers of children living in
not known benefit-dependent households between 2013 and 2018. As
The Household Incomes in New Zealand report, which is
published annually by Ministry of Social Development
reported in the State of the Nation Report 2017, the numbers
of children living in these households in 2017 reached
(MSD), did not report on recent rates of income poverty and the lowest point for at least 20 years, at 15.9% of all New
hardship amongst children. The reason given for this failure Zealand children. At the depth of the Global Financial Crisis
is the unreliability of data derived from the 2017 Household (GFC), this proportion almost reached 22%. The numbers
Economic Survey (HES). Statistics New Zealand is apparently
preparing a Child Poverty Report for release in early 2019,
and proportions of children reliant of welfare benefits rose
slightly during 2018 by around 2,500 children to sit at almost WORK & INCOMES
which will be based on more up-to-date survey information 181,000 children or 16% of the under-18’s population.
and supplemented with administrative data. 2
Table 1: Estimates of the number of children living in benefit-
dependent households—2013–20185
Numbers of children living in benefit-dependent
households rises slightly CRIME &
Number of Children
A parallel indicator to that of income poverty of children children living in benefit-
As at Working-age
in benefit- dependent
is the numbers of children living in households which are December benefits paid
dependent households as %
reliant on welfare benefits as their main source of income. households of all children
Most children living in households receiving only a benefit 2013 321,869 209,100 19.1%
are likely to be amongst the poorest children, mainly on
account of the minimal income provided by benefits. For
2014 309,145 194,500 17.7% SOCIAL HAZARDS
example, the most recent child poverty results from the 2015 2015 301,349 185,700 16.8%
HES suggest that as many as 92% of children from benefit- 2016 297,010 181,600 16.3%
dependent households live in relative income poverty. 3 But
2017 289,788 178,300 15.9%
around 45% of children living in such poverty come from
households receiving wages—in other words, the working
poor.4 Trends in the number of children living on welfare
2018 299,345 180,700 16.0%
benefits might then explain slightly more than half the
overall trends in child poverty. The remaining component in
this trend is what happens to the incomes of working-poor Endnotes
households. These incomes—as discussed in the Work and
Incomes chapter of this report—are covered by changes Appendix

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CHILDREN AT RISK Table 2: Notifications/referrals for possible child abuse or

Are You Well? Are We Safe?
Child abuse and neglect levels remain stable, while the
Year ending
numbers of children in State care reach a record high 30 June
2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018
The transition of childcare and protection services from
Child Youth and Family to the Ministry for Children—
Care and
90,893 88,768 83,871 84,228 81,840 92,250
Oranga Tamariki—has little changed the numbers of reports of
substantiated cases of child abuse or neglect. Change concern
so soon after this transition in 2016 is probably not to be Police family
expected on any account. violence 57,766 57,889 67,034 86,980 77,081 99,005

The numbers of possible cases of neglect or abuse reported

to Oranga Tamariki by the public or referred by Police as notifications 148,659 146,657 150,905 171,208 158,921 191,255
a consequence of a family violence incident, grew sharply or referrals
between 2017 and 2018 (June years). These numbers, for the
Despite this jump in notifications and referrals, the numbers
most recent five years, are reported in Table 2. Between
of cases where child abuse or neglect has been proven or
2017 and 2018, reports of concern from the general public
grew by slightly more than 10,000 to more than 92,000,
substantiated has changed little over the past two years.
The numbers of individual children affected by these cases
which is a similar level of reporting seen in 2012 and 2013.
has, however, grown by more than 1300, or 11%, over the
Police referrals relating to domestic violence jumped
past two years, to almost 13,500. This is a similar volume
almost 22,000 between 2017 and 2018. While such volumes
to that reported in the 2015 and 2016 (June) years. Data on
will be taxing on Oranga Tamariki’s resources, they point
to increased awareness and concern for children’s safety
these substantiated cases and the numbers of children
affected are reported in Table 3 and Figure 1.
within Government agencies and the wider community.
The nature of substantiated abuse or neglect has changed
significantly over the past five years. Some of these changes
were on account of changing priorities of Child Youth and
Family, which saw the seriousness of emotional abuse and
neglect downgraded in favour of physical and sexual abuse.
This trend, of less importance being placed on emotional
abuse and neglect, may have continued over the past two
years, given the declines in such cases between 2017 and Endnotes
2018. Table 3 also reports that the numbers of substantiated
cases of sexual abuse remained at around 1000 during 2017 Appendix

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and 2018, which is 30% fewer than in 2013. These figures Table 3: Oranga Tamariki’s substantiations of child abuse Are You Well? Are We Safe?
are puzzling because they do not correspond with Police and neglect—2013–2018 9
statistics on aggravated sexual assaults on children, which
Year ending 30 June 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018
indicate volumes 50% more than those reported in Table 3.

This Police data is reported in Table 4. Emotional abuse 12,777 10,406 8,318 8,490 7,231 6,810
Physical abuse 3,343 3,305 3,235 3,073 3,136 3,490
Also reported in Figure 1 is the most recent five-year trend in
the numbers of children and youth in State care. At the end Sexual abuse 1,459 1,329 1,275 1,167 1,038 1,010
of June 2018, there were 6365 children in care, which is the Neglect 5,405 4,583 3,644 3,664 3,397 2,953
most ever. Half of this increase—of 657 children and youth— Total
22,984 19,623 16,472 16,394 14,802 14,263
is on account of the extension of the age of care from 17 to
18 years—a change which has been welcomed by welfare
Number of
agencies and community leaders.7 individual children 18,595 16,289 13,833 13,598 12,117 13,464
as victims
Figure 1: Children abused and neglected or in State care—
2013–2018 8
20 CRIME &
Number of children—thousands

2013 2014 2015 2016
June years
2017 2018
Children who suffered substantiated abuse or neglect
Children in youth and State care


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CHILDREN AND VIOLENCE Although the volumes of offences and victimisations

reported in Tables 4A and 4B are in their thousands, their
Are You Well? Are We Safe?
Little change in recorded violence offences against children volatility and the variable circumstances which produce
Little appears to have changed over the past four years in them, make it unwise to draw definitive interpretations with
the nature and extent of adult violence toward children. just four years of data. It seems quite clear, however, that
over this time the volume of reported offences have not OUR CHILDREN
Police’s new system for recording offences involves the dropped, and, as a preliminary finding, the extent of more
compilation of the Recorded Crime Victims Statistics (RCVS) serious physical assaults against children may be increasing.
data set, which provides better information around the Whether these trends are due to changes in patterns of
demographic characteristics of victims of offences, such
offending, or reporting, or both, is not known, however.
as physical and sexual assaults. Data on possible violent
offending against children aged under 15 years old is offered Table 4A: Recorded violent offences against children aged under 15 WORK & INCOMES
in Tables 4A and 4B. Table 4A records reported offences, or —2015–201810
victimisations, against children, while Table 4B records the
June years 2015 2016 2017 2018
number of individual children involved in these reported
offences. The caveat offered above, on possible violent
offences, relates to the fact that at the time of reporting
Common assault 1190 1244 1127 1191
Serious assault without injury 2117 2487 2894 2656
of the complaint in the RCVS data set, the allegation may
Serious assault resulting in injury 1239 1270 1369 1646
not have been proved. This transition between the time of
complaint and resolution—by proof of guilt or otherwise— Aggravated sexual assault 1578 1459 1545 1451
means that the data offered in tables such as these is
Table 4B: Numbers of children aged under 15 who have been a
dynamic and may change a little from year to year, as the
crime investigation and prosecution process works out. victim of a recorded violent offence—2015–2018 11

The data offered in Table 4A shows little significant change June years 2015 2016 2017 2018
between 2015 and 2018, with perhaps one exception: the Common assault 1039 1088 986 1054
gradual increase in reported serious assaults resulting in Serious assault without injury 2024 2338 2501 2320
injury. The number of these offences may have risen by
around 30% over the four-year period between 1 July 2014
and 30 June 2018. This is an increase of around 400 offences,
Serious assault resulting in injury
Aggravated sexual assault
involving approximately 375 more children. Tables 4A and
4B also record a possible increase in the number of non-
injury serious assaults between 2015 and 2018, although Endnotes
these volumes have fluctuated more than the injury assault
volumes over this period.

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YOUTH OFFENDING meant, of course, that the gap between rates of youth
offending amongst Māori and non-Māori has widened—as
Are You Well? Are We Safe?
Youth offending levels fall to the lowest level in at least indicated on the Māori/non-Māori Gaps Table, reported in
25 years the Appendix to this report.
As noted elsewhere in this State of the Nation Report 2019,
the age cohort—which is now teenagers—appears to be
Unsurprisingly, perhaps, data on youth offending shows
that those who commit more serious offences and offend
behaving quite differently than older age cohorts did when repeatedly have complex social and personal needs. The
they were teenagers. They are drinking less hazardously, Youth Justice Indicators Summary Report reveals that
having fewer babies and committing less crime than ‘almost all of the children and young people referred for
teenagers a decade ago. This pattern of lower rates of
criminal offending is reported in Figure 2, and in a recently
released report: Youth Justice Indicators Summary Report.12
a youth justice family group conference (FGC), someone
had previously expressed concern that they or their family WORK & INCOMES
needed help’.14 This trend points not only to the complex
Detailed data on criminal offending is only available back nature of the more serious youth offending, but to the fact
to 2003. This data shows that the number of young people that further reductions in such offending will require a more
aged under 16 years old who were charged with a criminal intense and perhaps more targeted set of responses to
assist the most at-risk youth.
offence, fell to the lowest level in the year to 30 June 2018.
This trend is illustrated in Figure 2 for the past five years, Figure 2: Number of people under 16 years charged with criminal
and shows that 1785 youth aged under 16 were charged with offences—2013–201815
an offence compared with 2739 people five years earlier—
this is a reduction of 35%. 3,000

There is, however, a pattern in youth offending: less serious

Number of prosecutions

offending is dropping faster than more serious offending, 2,000

such as violence. This trend is illustrated in Figure 2, which 1,500
compares the volume of overall youth offending with violent
offending—that is homicide, physical and sexual assaults 1,000
and robbery. Such violent offending dropped only 13% in
volume terms, over the past five years.
2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018
This decline in youth offending has been greatest for June years
Pākehā/European youth than for Māori or Pasifika youth.
Between 2010 and 2017, the offending rate for Pākehā/ Violent offences All offences Endnotes
European youth aged under 16 fell 74%, while for Pasifika
youth it fell 61% and by 59% for Māori.13 This trend has
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EARLY CHILDHOOD EDUCATION participation rates have risen marginally between June 2017
and June 2018 by 0.1% to 96.9%. This inconsistency with
Are You Well? Are We Safe?
Early childhood education participation declines a little recent small drops in overall enrolments is due to the lag
After over a decade of rising rates of enrolment in early between overall ECE participation and the participation of
childhood education (ECE), enrolments and enrolment rates
declined slightly during the year to 30 June 2018. This trend
5-year-olds who have recently started at school. Despite
this overall small increase in prior participation rates, these OUR CHILDREN
is identified in Table 5, which offers a number of indicators prior participation rates have fallen for the poorest and
around progress in ECE enrolment and participation. The richest three deciles (as measured by the decile rating of the
way enrolment data was collected changed in 2014, so close school the children are enrolling in). Prior participation rates
comparisons of data across this time need to be avoided. for children enrolling at the middle four deciles have risen
Data since 2015, however, is from a consistent collection
base, so changes since then are more reliable.
to offset these declines. Children enrolling in the poorest
three deciles of schools showed the greatest fall in prior
participation between 2017 and 2018 from 95.0% to 93.0%.
In mid-2018, total enrolments in licensed ECE centres was
200,588 children, which was almost 1,200 fewer than at the While new entrant children from poorer families and
same time 12 months earlier and at about the same level as communities have high rates of prior engagement in ECE,
the extent of this engagement is not as much as those
five years earlier. This meant that the enrolment rate for the
overall pre-school population also fell from 65.5% in 2017 to children from higher-income families and neighbourhoods. PUNISHMENT
64.3% in 2018.16 For the 3- and 4-year-old population, which During the year to 30 June 2018, more than 40% of new
is a priority group for ECE enrolment, the enrolments fell entrants, in the poorest three deciles of schools, had less
slightly more from 95.7% to 94.1%. than one year of prior ECE attendance. Just 14% of children

ECE enrolment amongst Māori children remained steady

between 2017 and 2018 at around 57.3%, while the rate for
attending the highest three deciles of school shared this
experience, pointing to the extent of ECE engagement gap SOCIAL HAZARDS
which still exists.17
non-Māori dropped from 69.6% to 68.5%. Consequently, the
enrolment gap—between Māori and non-Māori—narrowed
by 1.6% to 11.2%. In 2013, this gap was 15.6%. Trends in ECE
enrolment rates for Māori and non-Māori over the past
decade are represented in Figure 3, and also reported in the
Gaps Table in this report’s Appendix.

Ministry of Education also survey the parents of new

entrants over their child’s ECE engagement, prior to starting Endnotes
school. Some of the outcomes from this survey, for the years
to 30 June, are offered in Table 5. Paradoxically, these prior
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Table 5: Prior participation in ECE by new entrants in primary school—2013–201818 Are You Well? Are We Safe?
June years 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018
Total ECE enrolments 200,942 200,002 198,887 201,675 202,772 200,588
ECE enrolment rate—under 5 population
ECE enrolment rate for 3- and 4-year-olds
Overall ECE participation rate prior to starting school 95.6% 95.9% 96.2% 96.6% 96.8% 96.9%
Prior ECE engagement rate—poorest three deciles 90.3% 91.6% 92.9% 94.2% 95.0% 93.0%
Prior ECE engagement rate—richest three deciles 98.5% 98.5% 98.7% 98.7% 98.9% 98.7%
Participation gap -8.2% -6.9% -5.8% -4.5% -3.8% -5.7% WORK & INCOMES
Figure 3: ECE enrolment rates for Māori and non-Māori under
80% CRIME &
Proportion of 0- to 4-year-old
population enrolled in ECE

2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018
June years

Māori Non-Māori HOUSING



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EDUCATIONAL ACHIEVMENT however, fell 5.1% between 2013 and 2014 from 23.5% to 18.4%.
For the students from the richest three deciles of schools,
Are You Well? Are We Safe?
Some NCEA achievement gaps widen a little the UE achievement rate fell 2.9% from 64.9% in 2013 to 62.0%
Summary NCEA results from 2017 have shown that some in 2014. The second trend to emerge from the data behind
achievement gaps widened slightly between 2016 and 2016,
following several years of these gaps narrowing. Table 6A
Figure 4 is the widening of the achievement between 2012 and
2017 from 40.9% to 43.6%. OUR CHILDREN
reports the proportion of school leavers leaving school As reported in the Appendix, the gap between Māori and
with less than a NCEA Level 1 qualification. This data is non-Māori UE pass rates narrowed a little from 23.7% in 2012
reported by the decile rating of the secondary school these to 23.9% in 2017.
students left from. On the same decile basis, Table 6B
reports the proportion of students leaving school with
NCEA Level 2 or better.
Table 6A: Students leaving school with less than NCEA Level 1—
2012–2017 20
Data in Tables 6A and 6B show the gap in achievement 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017
outcomes between the poorest three deciles (deciles 1 Decile 1 (poorest) 27.2% 25.9% 23.5% 22.7% 20.7% 23.1%
to 3) and richest three deciles (deciles 8 to 10). This data
Decile 2 21.9% 20.2% 19.5% 16.6% 15.7% 16.4% CRIME &
shows that these gaps narrowed between 2012 and 2016,
but widened a little between 2016 and 2017. The extent of Decile 3 21.0% 19.3% 17.7% 15.9% 12.8% 14.7% PUNISHMENT
this increase cannot be seen as significant at this stage, Decile 4 17.4% 15.3% 13.3% 12.1% 11.9% 12.4%
although the fact that further improvements did not Decile 5 14.4% 13.8% 10.7% 10.0% 9.1% 10.3%
emerge is worth noting. As reported in the Gaps Table in the
Decile 6 13.3% 12.4% 10.4% 10.2% 9.0% 8.7%
Appendix, the achievement gap indicators between Māori
and non-Māori remained the same, or improved, between Decile 7 10.5% 9.4% 8.8% 7.4% 7.3% 7.0% SOCIAL HAZARDS
2016 and 2017. Decile 8 8.0% 7.3% 5.6% 5.7% 5.5% 5.1%

In a graphical format, Figure 4 compares the proportion of Decile 9 5.0% 4.2% 4.0% 3.5% 3.8% 3.4%
school leavers leaving school with University Entrance (UE) Decile 10 (richest) 3.6% 3.2% 2.7% 2.5% 2.4% 3.2%
from each decile for 2012 and 2017. This data shows two
trends. The most noticeable is that UE pass rates fell between
Deciles 1 to 3
12.2% 11.1%
20.0% 18.3%
2012 and 2017 for almost every decile, although the falls were
greatest in the lowest (poorest) deciles. This decline was on Deciles 8 to 10 5.5% 4.9% 4.1% 3.9% 3.9% 3.9%
account of the application of stricter standards in 2014, which Achievement gap 17.6% 16.7% 15.9% 14.3% 12.2% 13.9% Endnotes
say the overall pass rate fell from 42.2% in 2013 to 39.3% in
2014. The aggregate pass rate for the poorest three deciles, Appendix

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Table 6B: Students leaving school with better than NCEA Level 2 Figure 4: Proportion of students leaving school with NCEA Level 3 Are You Well? Are We Safe?
—2012–201721 or better by decile of their schools—2012 and 2017 22

2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 80%

Proportion of school leavers leaving with UE

Decile 1 (poorest) 58.6% 59.4% 63.6% 64.6% 66.8% 64.4%
Decile 2 63.2% 65.6% 66.3% 69.4% 70.8% 72.9% 60%
Decile 3 64.7% 67.0% 70.2% 72.7% 75.3% 74.0% 50%
Decile 4 70.2% 73.0% 76.0% 77.4% 77.7% 77.4% 40%
Decile 5 73.8% 74.4% 78.9% 80.0% 80.9% 79.4% 30%
Decile 6 73.7% 75.4% 79.3% 79.4% 80.9% 80.8% 20% WORK & INCOMES
Decile 7 79.7% 81.2% 82.2% 84.3% 85.0% 84.8% 10%
Decile 8 83.6% 84.7% 87.2% 87.6% 87.6% 88.5%
Decile 9 89.6% 90.5% 91.1% 91.6% 92.5% 92.2% 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

Decile 10 (richest) 92.1% 92.5% 93.4% 94.4% 94.1% 93.4%

(POOREST) Decile of school students attended (RICHEST)
Total 74.9% 74.9% 78.2% 79.8% 80.8% 80.7%
2012 2017
Deciles 1 to 3 62.4% 64.2% 67.0% 69.2% 71.4% 70.6%
Deciles 8 to 10 88.4% 89.2% 90.5% 91.1% 91.4% 91.3%
Achievement gap 26.0% 25.0% 23.5% 21.9% 20.0% 20.7%



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Framing the Issues
From the Director

TEENAGE PREGNANCY being. State of the Nation reports have focused on teenage
pregnancy rates, not because teenagers having children is
Are You Well? Are We Safe?
Declining teenage pregnancy rate continues bad or wrong, but because of the clear links between the
New Zealand’s teenage pregnancy rate (for 15- to 19-year- age at which a woman has children, her educational status
olds) has halved over the past eight years, from a rate of
50 pregnancies for every 1000 women aged 15 to 19 years
when she does, and the subsequent poverty of her and
her children. One response to reducing child poverty is to OUR CHILDREN
in 2010 to less than 23/1000 in 2018. 23 Given the extent of encourage women to have children after they have finished
such a change and the absence of any specific identifiable their education and found a place in the labour market, and
contributing causes, it is tempting to suggest that we this response is implicit in a focus on teenage pregnancy
are seeing a cultural change here: that a large group of rates. However, there is nothing inevitable in the link
people have collectively adopted values which drive
different behaviours and social outcomes. Estimates of
between child poverty and the age of a poor child’s mother
at the time she gave birth. An alternative response, to
teenage pregnancy rates for 11- to 14-year-olds and for alleviation of child poverty, is simply to better support and
15- to 19-year-olds for the five years to December 2017, are care for younger mothers and their children. While this is
provided in Tables 7A and 7B. not a pathway chosen by the past or present governments,
Figure 5 offers a long-term view of this trend in declining the focus and policy choices being made here are merely CRIME &
teenage pregnancies, and compares the rate for the total
population with that of Māori women aged between 15
outcomes of the cultural values being applied.
Table 7A: Pregnancies and abortions to 11- to 14-year-olds—
and 19 years. This comparison is also reported in the 2011–2017 25
Gaps Table in this report’s Appendix. Although the Māori
teenage pregnancy rate has also halved since 2010—from Pregnancy % of
100 pregnancies per 1000 women to 52/100—this rate has
remained twice that of the total population.
Year ending
Live births Abortions rate per
2011 25 68 0.8 73%
A principal difference in teenage pregnancy patterns
2012 18 51 0.6 74%
between Māori and non-Māori is the proportions of
pregnancies which end in abortion. For the total population 2013 20 48 0.6 71%
of 15- to 19-year-olds, around 38% of pregnancies are
terminated—as reported in Table 7B. For Māori, this
2014 27 57 0.7 68% HOUSING
2015 24 32 0.5 57%
termination rate is around 26%, which means that the
pregnancy termination rate for non-Māori women aged 15 to 2016 15 32 0.4 64%
19 is almost 50%. 24 2017 18 30 0.4 63% Endnotes
This difference illustrates an important contrast in cultural
values, which should be appreciated as we discuss well-
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Framing the Issues
From the Director
Table 7B: Pregnancies and abortions to 15- to 19-year-olds—
2012–2017 26
Small rise in youth and adolescent suicides, driven by rise
Pregnancy % of in female suicides
Year ending
Live births Abortions rate per Pregnancies

2012 3768 2489

The youth suicide rate rose during the year to 30 June
2018, to the highest level in five years. The suicide rate for OUR CHILDREN
15- to 19-year-olds rose from 12 deaths for every 100,000
2013 3283 2096 35.3 39% population to almost 17 per 100,000 between 2017 and 2018.
2014 2895 1758 30.5 38% While the female suicide rate remained lower than the
male rate, it rose more sharply between 2017 and 2018 from
2015 2841 1635 29.2 37%
2016 2466 1451 25.3 37%
seven deaths per 100,000 to 13 per 100,000. Data on recent
changes in the numbers and rates of youth and adolescent WORK & INCOMES
2017 2298 1414 24.1 38% suicide are offered in Table 8 and Figure 6.
Table 8: Youth suicide deaths and rates (per 100,000 people)—
Figure 5: Pregnancy rates for 15- to 19-year-olds—2007–2017 2013–201828
(December years) 27
June 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018 CRIME &
10- to 14-year-olds
Males—number 3 2 5 5 6 3
Pregnancies per 1000 women

100 Males—rate 2.1 1.3 3.3 3.3 3. 9 1.9

aged 15–19 years

Females—number 3 4 5 3 7 5
Females—rate 2.2 2.8 3.5 2.1 4.8 3.3 SOCIAL HAZARDS
Total—number 6 6 10 8 13 8
Total—rate 2.1 2.0 3.4 2.7 4.1 2.6
2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017
December years 15- to 19-year-olds

Total population Māori population

Females—number 20 21 17 17 10 20
Females—rate 13.5 13.8 11.1 11.0 6.5 13.1
Total—number 63 46 52 51 38 53
Total—rate 20.6 14.7 16.4 16.0 12.0 16.9 Appendix

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Framing the Issues
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Figure 6: Suicide rates for 15- to 19-year-olds and total Are You Well? Are We Safe?
Deaths per 100,000 people

2011 2012 2013 2014 2015
June years
2016 2017 2018 WORK & INCOMES
15- to 19-year-olds Total population

The absence of data to make reliable assessments of child poverty trends is disappointing, and means that little can
be said of the impact of recent improvements in job numbers, or of changes in policies around minimum wages and
benefit levels. The small increase in numbers of children in benefit-dependent families should not have had an impact
of poverty rates, however.
The numbers of children judged to be at risk of abuse or neglect have hardly changed over the past three years,
so there is no sign of any improvement. Record numbers of children are now in State care and only some see this
increase is due to the extension of the age of State care from 17 to 18 years.
The numbers of children who are recorded as being victims of sexual assaults have changed little over the past three Endnotes
years. Somewhat alarmingly, the number of serious physical assaults on children has risen recently. Whether this is
due to greater levels of offending or reporting, is not known. Appendix

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Framing the Issues
From the Director
YOUTH OFFENDING Are You Well? Are We Safe?
The overall decline in youth offending rates is welcome, although a rising proportion of what remains is violent
offending. Further declines in offending rates will require us to work more intensively with a core group of offenders
who demonstrate a number of other social and personal problems.


Enrolments in licensed ECE centres fell by around 1% between 2017 and 2018, and there is some initial evidence the
participation gap between low- and middle-income families has widened again. At this stage, the trends are not
significant and further declines are needed before concern should be raised.
Recent modest progress in closing the still-wide NCEA achievement gaps may have stalled in 2017, with some gaps
widening a little. While this change may be an isolated outcome, it points to the fragility of this recent progress and to
the need to consider more radical interventions to close these gaps in a meaningful way.
Teenage pregnancy rates fell during 2017, and look still to be declining in 2018. Significant differences in such rates
between Māori and non-Māori persist in pointing to significant differences in cultural values around this indictor.
Youth suicide numbers and rates have changed little over the past four years. As a background indicator of other
conditions—such as those around mental health, connectedness and social well-being—this lack of improvement
is disappointing.
+ Positive progress ‒ Poor outcome or decline NC No change



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Framing the Issues
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OVERALL ASSESSMENT to be applauded, but little seems to have changed in the

background conditions that create these situations.
Are You Well? Are We Safe?
All our children are safe and doing well
Youth suicide rates show no sign of declining, pointing
The vast majority of New Zealand’s children are no doubt perhaps to something of a wider malaise around provision
safe and doing well, and there is no data available to
suggest that their status is under any threat. But there is
of adolescent mental health services, and to a sense of
hopelessness amongst a small but not insignificant group
a persistent core of children and teenagers who are either of teenagers and young adults. The more open reporting of
being harmed by their circumstances or have diminished suicide statistics is a welcome first step to addressing this
prospects. There is little evidence available to suggest that very sensitive issue in an appropriate way.
this group of children and teenagers has got any smaller
over the past two or three years. The differences in the fortunes of New Zealand children are
important as we consider appropriate interventions. The gaps
It is the case that over the past five years, youth offending between most children and their families and those who are
rates have fallen and that fewer school leavers are leaving marginalised have not closed appreciably, despite concerted
school without qualifications. The continuing decline in efforts by State agencies and communities. There is even
teenage pregnancy rates should be applauded, particularly a sense from the data available that recent progress has CRIME &
if it allows young women to be better prepared for later
motherhood. However, progress around educational
stalled. The continuation of current approaches—especially
in education, care and protection and income support—seem
achievement and youth offending appears fragile, and it is unlikely to produce different results. The time for more
by no means certain that further improvements are assured radical responses that look for generational changes for a
with the current approaches. moderate size group of families is perhaps overdue.
Across the other indicators considered here to be relevant
to children’s well-being, there has been little or no
appreciable progress over the past year or two. This has
meant that the gaps between the children in the mainstream
of our society and those on the margin have not narrowed.

There has been no appreciable fall in the numbers of

children, judged by Oranga Tamariki, to be at risk of neglect
or abuse. While the numbers of such children have remained
the same for the past three years, the number of children
in State care has reached a new record, growing by almost Endnotes
30% in five years. Increased reporting by the public and
Police of potentially harmful situations for children are
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Framing the Issues
From the Director

WORK & INCOMES Are You Well? Are We Safe?

New Zealand appears to be at an interesting junction in The conundrum now is to find a new growth model that
terms of work and income. On one road we have an aging addresses these underlying structural problems of our
population, which means our working-age population
will grow at a far slower rate than at any other time in
various deficits and poor labour productivity growth,
within the constraints of an aging population and
our history. On a second road we have unemployment ongoing labour shortages. Our success in addressing
falling to the lowest level in 10 years, alongside regular these challenges will in part show up in changes in our
reports of growing labour and skill shortages. Against labour markets and in patterns of income growth and
these shortages we appear to have only modest income distribution. Some indicators in these areas are reported
growth, much of which is being driven by increases in in this chapter. WORK & INCOMES
the statutory minimum wage, rather than by market
pressures. On the fourth road of the intersection we
have a persistent number of around 300,000 working-age
individuals receiving a welfare payment.
These circumstances are underpinned by two structural
challenges: first, there is our need for ongoing economic PUNISHMENT
growth in order to address our infrastructure, social and
environmental deficits; second, is our poor productivity
record, which has meant, amongst other things, that we
have required quite rapid growth in our labour force to
underpin economic growth. SOCIAL HAZARDS
The previous Government’s response to these challenges
was to facilitate the expansion of the dairy industry
through providing easier access to water resources, and to
open the gate to new migrants. This response contributed
to credible growth in the economy and in the job market.
It also put increasing stress both on water quality—as the
national dairy herd grew by 21% in 10 years30—and on
urban infrastructure. Such a growth model was probably
not sustainable without greater levels of investment in Endnotes
urban infrastructure, and also without a more considered
way of managing water resources.
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Framing the Issues
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EMPLOYMENT AND UNEMPLOYMENT Unemployment reaches 10 year low in September

Official unemployment reached a 10 year low of 3.8% or 106,
Are You Well? Are We Safe?
Job growth slows a little in face of capacity constraints 000 people but rose slightly during the December quarter
The number of jobs delivered by New Zealand’s economy to 4.4% or around 120,000 people. Taken on an annual basis
continued to grow during 2018, although at a slightly slower
rate than in previous years. At the end of December 2018,
unemployment during 2018 averaged 118,000 people which
is more than 6% fewer than for 2017 and 13% less than five
there was an estimated 2.64 million jobs, of which 80%, or years earlier.
2.11 million, were full-time. On a 12-month averaged basis,
the number of jobs grew by 2.6% over the 12 months to 31 Against these decreases there was a small increase in the
December 2018 and over 18% during the previous five years. numbers of people receiving a Jobseeker payment. At the
Taken on the same 12-month averaged basis, annual job
growth to 31 December 2017 was 4.2%. These figures are
end of 2018, 74,100 people were receiving a Jobseekers’
payment and assessed as being ‘work ready’. This is a 13%
reported in Figure 7. increase over the previous year when 65,600 people were
Figure 7: Total employment in New Zealand—2013–201831 receiving the payment, and approximately the same number
as in late 2013.
Statistics New Zealand reports several broader measures
Number of jobs—thousands


of unemployment, including people who are seeking work
but are not presently available for work. These broader
1,500 measures, plus those deemed to meet the definition of
1,000 being officially unemployed, might be termed ‘jobless’—that
is people who are presently out of work but would accept
500 paid employment if a suitable job was available to them. SOCIAL HAZARDS
0 This jobless total, as well as the official unemployment
2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018 figure, and numbers of people receiving a Jobseeker
December years
payment, are reported in Figure 8 for the past five years. As
Part-time jobs Full-time jobs this graph shows, the jobless numbers have trended down

By December 2018, 1.31 million women were employed,

over the past two years, from an average of 243,000 in 2016
to 225,000 in 2017 and 2018.
making up 47.4% of the workforce. This is an increase of
180,000 women over the last five years. This has meant that
over the past five years the female labour force grew by 17% Endnotes
compared with just 11% growth in the male labour force.

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Framing the Issues
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Figure 8: Measures of unemployment—2013–201832 Migration flows are unlikely to have caused current Are You Well? Are We Safe?
labour shortages
It seems unlikely that stricter immigration rules—at least
Number of people—thousands

for now—are responsible for what appears to be a growing
labour shortage. Net migration for the year to 30 September
2018 reached 62,700 people, of whom 82%, or 51,500, were
150 of working age. Against this migration, the job market
100 expanded by around 70,000 jobs. The most recent net
migration figures are the third highest on record and are
reported in Figure 9 for the past 10 years.
DEC 13 JUN 14 DEC 14 JUN 15 DEC 15 JUN 16 DEC 16 JUN 17 DEC 17 JUN 18 DEC 18
Quarterly Figure 9: Net migration into New Zealand—2009–201833
Official unemployed Total jobless people
Registered jobseekers (ready to work) 70

Number of people—thousands
Labour utilisation lifts in the face of growing labour 50
shortages 40 PUNISHMENT
The present low unemployment rate has resulted in several 30
signs that New Zealanders are working harder and fewer 20
workers are under-employed. The labour force participation
rate has been trending upwards for several years and
averaged an historic high of 70.6% during 2018, which is
the same as in 2017, but significantly higher than the 67.8% -10
2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018
during 2013. Statistics New Zealand also reports that the September years
under-utilisation rate—the proportion of employed workers
Working age Other ages
who would like more work—fell in September 2018 to a
10-year low of 10.9%. Furthermore, a greater share of jobs
are full-time rather than part-time, suggesting also that
Our aging workforce is taking its toll
employers are struggling somewhat to find enough workers.
The underlying cause of New Zealand’s increasing labour
On average during 2018, 20.7% of jobs were part-time, while
shortage is our aging population. In short, the numbers Endnotes
five years previously this ratio was at 22.1%.
of young people entering the labour force is now close
to the numbers of people leaving it. This problem is, to Appendix

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Framing the Issues
From the Director
some extent, illustrated in Figures 10 and 11. Figure 10 Figure 10: Numbers of 16-year-olds and 65-year-olds— Are You Well? Are We Safe?
offers a comparison of the numbers of 16-year-olds in the 1999–201834
population compared with the numbers of 65-year-olds. 70
These age groups are used here as a proxy for the numbers
of people potentially entering paid work compared with the
numbers retiring. Over the past 20 years, the gap between 50 OUR CHILDREN

Number of people—thousands
16-year-olds and 65-year-olds has narrowed from between 40
28,000 to 30,000 people per year to 10,000. Based on the
current estimated population structure, this gap is likely 30
to close to 5,000 to 6,000 people per year by 2028. In other 20
words by 2028 our working age population will grow through
natural increase by only 5,000 to 6,000 people or by about
0.2% annually. 0
2000 2002 2004 2006 2008 2010 2012 2014 2016 2018
At 30 September
The other part of the aging population problem is illustrated
in Figure 11 that reports estimates of the numbers of people
aged over 65 years who are still engaged in the workforce in
16-year-olds 65-year-olds
some way. These numbers grew consistently between 2008
Minimal change in youth employment prospects
and 2017, from 80,000 people to 170,000 people. Since 2017,
the number of people aged over 65 who are still working has Despite what appears to be a tightening labour market,
stabilised at around 170,000 people, as participation rates— younger workers do not appear to be benefiting, with
especially amongst the 65- to 69-year-olds—remained
steady. Such a tapering off of this participation rate was to
high rates of employment and lower NEET rates (not in
employment, education or training). These trends are SOCIAL HAZARDS
be expected, although there still remains scope for further offered in Figure 11 and 12.
increases both in the participation rates and numbers of
The number of 15 to 19 years olds in employment more
older workers.
or less remained unchanged during 2018 at an average of

around 119,000 people. Such a result needs to be seen in
the context of a 2.6% increase in the total number of jobs
within the economy. Actual employment numbers for 15-to
19-year-olds are reported against those for peoples aged
over 65 years old in Figure 11.
Engagement in the labour market amongst younger workers
can also be measured in terms of NEETs. NEET numbers Appendix

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Framing the Issues
From the Director
for the past six years for the 15- to 19-year-olds and 20- to In 2018, the NEET rate for Māori 15- to 24-year-olds averaged Are You Well? Are We Safe?
24-year-olds are reported in Figure 12. This data shows no 18.6% compared with 10.2% for non-Māori. In 2017, the Māori
change since 2016 in overall NEET numbers with around rate averaged 18.7%, while in 2013 it averaged 22.9%. 36
80,000 15-to 24-year-olds not in education, training or Differences in Māori and non-Māori NEET rates are also
employment. Since 2013, the overall labour market has
expanded by more than 400,000 jobs. While the numbers of
reported in the Gaps Table in the Appendix alongside other
well-being indicators. OUR CHILDREN
15- to 19-year-olds in employment has grown by 20,000 since
2013, their share of the total job market has not risen. In
essence, this age group’s fortunes have not improved at all
since the setbacks of the GFC. 35

Figure 11: Employment of 15- to 19-year-olds and those over

Figure 12: Young adults not in employment education or training—
180 80
Number of people—thousands

160 70
People employed—thousands

60 10
2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018
December years
DEC 08 DEC 10 DEC 12 DEC 14 DEC 16 DEC 18 15- to 19-year-olds 20- to 24-year-olds
15- to 19-year-olds Over 65s

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Framing the Issues
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INCOMES $1061. In inflation-adjusted terms and on annual average

basis this is a 2.3% increase over the 12 months. Over the
Are You Well? Are We Safe?
Consistent but modest growth in incomes across the board past five years, the average weekly wage/salary has risen by
Across a range of measures, New Zealanders’ incomes a credible 8.9%. The trend in average wages over the past
appear to have risen modestly but consistently over the
past year or so, alongside possible trends of narrowing
five years is reported in Figure 14.

Figure 14: Real average weekly wage for all workers—2013–201841


Average weekly wage at Dec-2018 $ values

Per-capita gross domestic product (GDP) rose 2% in
inflation-adjusted terms over the most recent 12 months
of available data and by 14% over the past five years. Per-
capita GDP stood at an estimated $61,000 in late 2018. 39 The
trend for estimates of inflation-adjusted per-capita GDP for
the past 10 years is reported in Figure 13. 975

Figure 13: Real per-capita GDP—2008–2018 (in Sept-18 $ values)40 950

70 925
Per-capita GDP at Sep-2018 $ values—thousands

60 900
DEC 13 DEC 14 DEC 15 DEC 16 DEC 17 DEC 18
December years


Small improvements in wage inequalities
The pay gaps between men and women and between
those in the best and worst paid sectors appear to have
20 narrowed, although the rates at which these inequalities
have diminished probably remains inadequate for those who

believe that these are too wide and quite unjustified.
2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018 Average ordinary time hourly wages for men and women
September years for the past decade are charted in Figure 15. Averaged over
2018, men’s average ordinary time wage as $33.02 per hour,
A similar 2% real increase in average wages has also been while that of women was $29.13 or 88.2% of men’s. There Endnotes
reported for the past 12 months. In December 2018, the is, however, a discernible trend for a narrowing wage gap
average weekly wage, or salary, for all workers, stood at between men and women since 2015, and certainly over Appendix

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Framing the Issues
From the Director
the past 25 years. In 2015, women received around 86.8% of More workers picked up by statutory minimum wage Are You Well? Are We Safe?
men’s ordinary time wage, although this figure was lower On 1 April 2019, the statutory adult minimum wage will be
than prior to the GFC when this proportion approached 88%. increased to $17.70 per hour, while the youth equivalent
We now have almost 30 years of regular data on gender was set at 80% of this. This new adult rate is $1.20 per hour
wage differences and, during the early 1990s, women on
average were paid just over 82% of men’s wages.42
more than 2018 and will probably represent an inflation-
adjusted increase of almost 6%. Over the past five years, the
Figure 15: Comparison of female and male average ordinary time adult minimum wage has increased by over 17% in inflation-
hourly wage—2008–201843 adjusted terms.

89% As the minimum wage has been increased through annual


Female wage as % of male wage

reviews—as required in the Minimum Wage Act 1983—it

appears that increasing numbers of workers are being
87% picked up by these minimums. This trend is illustrated
in Figure 16 for the past 10 years. In 2018, the number of
workers affected by the new wage rates to be set in 2019
85% was estimated at 209,000 people, or 8% of the workforce. CRIME &
DEC 08 DEC 10 DEC 12 DEC 14 DEC 16 DEC 18
Five years earlier, when the adult minimum wage was
set at $14.25, this proportion was 5%. This trend, of an PUNISHMENT
increasing share of the workforce being paid the statutory
Annual average Quarterly minimum wage, can be seen both positively and negatively:
negatively, because employers paying wages close to the
Over the past two years, a similar trend of reducing income
equality between the best and worst paid business sectors
minimum wage are not inclined to lift their workers’ wages
in parallel with increases in this minimum; positively, in that
is also possibly emerging. At the end 2018, workers in the the minimum wage legislation is having an impact in lifting
hospitality sector earned on average a wage of $20.45 per incomes for the poorest paid New Zealanders.
housr, which was 46% of that received by workers in the
What is also encouraging is the extent of recent increases
finance and banking sector who received an average wage of
$44.50 per hour. Five years previously, hospitality workers
in the statutory minimum wage relative to other wages
and salaries. This improvement is shown in Figure 17,
received less than 44% of finance/banking workers. Whether
which reports the adult minimum wage as a proportion
or not this recent change is a long-term trend remains to be
of the average hourly wage received by employees. This
seen, although it is important to appreciate the longer term
proportion has risen gradually from 50% in 2009 to an Endnotes
context of this inequality. Hospitality workers during the
expected 56% in 2018.
early 1990s earned around 60% of those in the finance and
banking sectors but this ratio fell gradually until 2014.44
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Framing the Issues
From the Director
Also reported in Figure 17 is a typical relationship between Figure 17: Minimum wages and benefits as a proportion of average Are You Well? Are We Safe?
working-age benefits and average wages and salaries. Here wages—2006–201847
the reported indicator is the value of a single parent’s 60%
benefit (presently the Sole Parent Support) relative to the

Proportion as average hourly wage

average weekly income for working adults. This proportion
has gradually declined from 29% in 2009 to 27% in 2015,

but rose back to almost 29% with the increase in benefit
levels announced in the 2015 Budget.45 Since then this ratio 30%
has begun to slip away again and is now less than 28%. An
increase of almost $30 per week is required to reinstate the
single parent benefit to the same relativity with average
wages/salaries which it had in 2006.
2006 2008 2010 2012 2014 2016 2018
Figure 16: Number of workers receiving the statutory minimum
wage—2009–201946 Adult minimum wage as % of average wage
250 Single parent benefit as % of average weekly wage
Number of workers—thousands



2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019



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BENEFITS AND PENSIONS 150,000—who are unlikely to work due to illness or disability.
In such a period, the pretext that working-age welfare
Are You Well? Are We Safe?
Working-age benefit numbers stabilise, while NZ Super payments are a temporary measure to tide individuals over
numbers rise predictably until they find work, is wearing thin. In other words, welfare
policy can no longer be seen as mainly necessary to correct
Despite the 2.6% growth in job numbers during 2018, and
the still rising labour market participation rate, the number
for short-comings in the labour market which leave people
out of work and income. In a tighter labour market, we might
of people receiving a working-age benefit remained fairly
expect employers to be more accommodating to the needs
constant at just under 300,000. The trends in working-age
of employees with health conditions, disability or care
benefits, alongside that of New Zealand Superannuation
responsibilities, but it seems quite unlikely that all 300,000
receipt, are provided in Figure 18 for the past ten years.
working-age New Zealanders currently receiving a welfare
The number of people receiving either Superannuation or a
Veteran’s Pension continued to rise during 2018 by almost
payment will be welcomed into work. WORK & INCOMES
450 per week. By the end of 2019, more than 800,000 people This has probably been the reality for some time, but until
will be receiving Superannuation or a Veteran’s Pension. unemployment fell to 4% it was possible to ignore the
fact that many people are outside the labour market for
The breakdown of working-age benefits by type of benefit
is reported in Figure 19 for the most recent five years. One
feature of this data is its constancy—particularly in the
reasons unrelated to the labour market. This means the pre-
occupation of welfare law with work, needs to become more CRIME &
numbers of people receiving a Supported Living Payment
or a Jobseeker/Health Condition payment. Combined, these
balanced by considerations such as adequacy of income and
quality-of-life of those with limited choice but to rely on
two payments make up just over half of all benefits paid and income support from the State.
offer basic income support to about 150,000 adults. Figure 18: Welfare benefit and retirement pensions—2008–201849
Despite this constancy, little or no recognition is given in
welfare law that for perhaps 150,000 people their receipt of
Number of people—thousands

a benefit is more or less permanent and not due an unusual 700

set of circumstances in their lives, which will be overcome 600
once he or she gets a job. Despite recent changes in the
Social Security Act, the overriding purpose of welfare law is
to support people while they search for work. There are no
purposes or principles within New Zealand’s welfare laws
which set out the reason why the State chooses to support
working-aged people without independent income or indeed 100
how State provided income support is determined.48 0
DEC 08 DEC 10 DEC 12 DEC 14 DEC 16 DEC 18
As New Zealand enters a period of its history where labour
Main working-age benefits
is likely to be in short supply, the reality now appears that
NZ Superannuation and Veterans’ Pension Appendix
we will have a core group of people—perhaps numbering
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Framing the Issues
From the Director
Figure 19: Working-age benefit numbers by type of benefit— Government in December 2017. These increases will show up Are You Well? Are We Safe?
2013–201850 in the 2018/19 Government accounts when total spending on
100 income support programmes is expected to reach almost
Numbers of people receiving a benefit—thousands

$26.8 million. 51

80 Table 9: Expenditure on the main income support programmes—

2013–2018—$millions nominal52
60 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018
50 NZ Superannuation
& Veteran’s 10,406 11,078 11,769 12,453 13,218 13,862
Main working-age
4,660 4,508 4,385 4,347 4,390 4,355
20 benefits
10 Housing subsidies 1,788 1,806 1,832 1,919 1,977 2,093
DEC 13 DEC 14 DEC 15 DEC 16 DEC 17 DEC 18
Working for Families
tax credits
2,595 2,532 2,403 2,352 2,359 2,495 CRIME &
Jobseeker—work ready
Sole parent support
Jobseeker—health condition—disability
Supported living payment
Other benefits &
1,340 1,263 1,291 1,370 1,395 1,464 PUNISHMENT
Total benefit
20,789 21,187 21,680 22,441 23,339 24,005
Growth in welfare spending dominated by Superannuation expenses
Table 9 reports Government spending over the past five
years on income support. In inflation-adjusted terms, this
Real growth in
spending on
1.3% 0.0% 2.2% 3.1% 2.2% 1.2% SOCIAL HAZARDS
spending grew by 9% between 2013 and 2018. In nominal
dollar terms this was an increase of $3.2 billion overall, Core Crown
69,962 71,174 72,363 73,929 76,339 80,576
although all of this increase and more was taken up in
the $3.5 billion increase in spending on New Zealand Benefits as share
Superannuation. As a share of Core Crown Expenditure,
Government spending on income support programmes
of core Crown
29.7% 29.8% 30.0% 30.4% 30.6% 29.8%
NZ Superannuation
remained stable at just under 30% for most of the past five
as share of core 14.6% 15.3% 16.0% 16.6% 17.1% 16.8%
years. The 2018 results, however, do not take into account Crown Expenditure
increased spending on housing subsidies announced by Endnotes
the previous Government in May 2017, and the increases in
Working for Families payments announced by the present Appendix

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Framing the Issues
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LIVING COSTS AND FINANCIAL HARDSHIP Figure 20: Government spending on additional hardship
Are You Well? Are We Safe?
Government spending on hardship assistance reaches 120
$100 million per quarter
Figure 20 reports Government spending on additional

$ millions (nominal)
hardship assistance, which is provided mainly to families 80
and households receiving a working-age benefit. In
September 2018, this spending topped $100 million for the
first time and remained at this level during the December 40
2018 quarter as well. Total spending on TAS programmes
during 2018 reached $370 million, which is nearly 19% more
in nominal terms than the 2017 pay-outs of $312 million.
DEC 13 JUN 14 DEC 14 JUN 15 DEC 15 JUN 16 DEC 16 JUN 17 DEC 17 JUN 18 DEC 18
These changes are welcomed by agencies such as The Quarterly
Salvation Army who are engaged in supporting poorer
and more vulnerable New Zealanders, as they have a
Low-income living cost indexes move ahead of CPI
Statistics New Zealand recently started reporting a variety
tangible impact on people’s material well-being. The
trend for increasing numbers and value of TAS payments of price indices which might be faced by various sorts of PUNISHMENT
can be traced back to early 2016, around the time the households. This innovation is welcomed, as it provides
previous Government acknowledged the housing crisis and those involved in designing income-support programmes
associated poverty this was causing. These increases are with additional information on the living circumstances
also assisting the improvement of relationships between
people receiving benefits and Work and Income—the
of those served by such programmes. Figure 21 reports
changes in some of these indexes over the past five years. SOCIAL HAZARDS
Government agency responsible for administered welfare For the sake of easy comparison, these have been indexed
benefit programmes. back to September 2013.

It appears that over the past two years, living costs for
the poorest households have risen at a slightly faster rate
than for other households. For households receiving a HOUSING
working-age benefit, living costs rose 2.2% during 2018 and
4.6% since late 2016. By comparison, household living costs
across all households rose 2.1% and 3.9% for the same
respective periods.

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Framing the Issues
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Figure 21: Low-income households living cost index—2013–201853 through Ministry of Social Development’s temporary and Are You Well? Are We Safe?
additional support programme (TAS), which is reported above
1090 in Figure 22 as well as the new Winter Energy Payment.
Figure 22: Food parcels distributed by The Salvation Army—
INDEX—September 2013 = 1000

2008–201854 OUR CHILDREN

Number of food parcels provided—thousands

1040 60
1010 40
DEC 13 DEC 14 DEC 15 DEC 16 DEC 17 DEC 18 30

All households Beneficiaries Superannuants Q1 low income

Encouraging fall in Salvation Army foodbank demand


The Salvation Army operates foodbanks from 67 sites 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018
throughout New Zealand. During 2018, the Army distributed December years
just over 61,400 food parcels to 30,500 individual families
or households. This distribution was a 3% reduction on that
of 2017, when almost 63,300 food parcels were distributed
to more than 32,000 families or households. The change in
demand was not even across the country, with increased
demand recorded in Auckland and Northland but small
declines elsewhere in the country. The 2017 volumes were,
however, exceptional in historic terms as shown in Figure
23, which reports total food parcel distributions by The
Salvation Army since 2008.

The Salvation Army has not undertaken any detailed Endnotes

assessment of why food parcel demand fell during 2018. This
fall is believed to be related to increased income support Appendix

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Framing the Issues
From the Director


Moderately strong growth in job numbers continued during 2018, although this growth is probably a legacy of past
policies and events rather than of current settings. OUR CHILDREN
The official unemployment rate reached a 10-year low, mainly due to demographic factors. Without continuing
migration growth, the workforce will be constrained by our aging population. Despite this low unemployment rate, the
persistence of around 70,000 NEET 15- to 24-year-olds remains a major concern and points to a continuing problem
around poor skill levels amongst some school leavers and our inability to engage them in the workforce.
Generally good news across the incomes front with modest real growth in incomes for those in work, and some
evidence of declining income inequalities. These trends are probably related to more aggressive increases in the
statutory minimum wage than they are to wage pressure from labour and skill shortages. CRIME &
It has been business as usual during 2018 in the area of benefit numbers. The numbers of people receiving NZ
Superannuation continued to grow by 450 per week, as expected, and this number will reach 800,000 by early 2020.
Against this, the number of people receiving a working-age welfare benefit remained constant at just under 300,000
and this despite a record low unemployment. Alongside this, there was improved access provided to emergency
benefits and grants, which has probably reduced levels of material hardship. None of these trends have raised interest
in the need for extensive change in our welfare policy settings, which is disappointing.


Living costs for beneficiary households have risen faster than for others, although by a small margin. Government’s
additional income supplements—such as the Winter Energy Payment—and more generous allocation of emergency
grants, probably contributed to the reduction in demand for food parcels from The Salvation Army.
+ Tangible or consistent progress - Slipping back NC No change


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Framing the Issues
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OVERALL ASSESSMENT statutory minimum wage now than in 2013. In 2013, around
92,000 workers were receiving the statutory minimum wage
Are You Well? Are We Safe?
Our prosperity is fairly shared and by early 2019 it is estimated that 209,000 workers, or 8%
The past five years have seen increasing prosperity for of the workforce, will be receiving the wage. This outcome
most New Zealanders and a very modest narrowing of
income inequalities. Those living on welfare benefits remain
points to both the importance and real benefits of minimum
wage legislation in driving a more inclusive economy. OUR CHILDREN
economically excluded, however. But welfare beneficiaries remain outside of this
Per-capita GDP has grown 14% in inflation-adjusted terms, inclusiveness, entirely as a result of policy choice. With the
while the average wage received by employees has lifted by exception of a one-off increase in benefit rates in 2016,
almost 9% on the same inflation-adjusted basis. The impact
of these real increases in incomes on living standards
these rates have not been increased in real terms since the
benefit cuts of 1991. The result has been persistent poverty WORK & INCOMES
depends significantly on what happens to housing costs. rates—especially amongst children—as well as increasing
While no two households are the same with respect to their material hardship. This material hardship is partly witnessed
incomes and housing costs, it generally does not appear by foodbank demand, which rose sharply during the GFC and
from the data available that these higher incomes have been has remained at similar levels since.
soaked up in higher housing costs. Levels of housing related
poverty remain largely unchanged however.
A recent response to this hardship has been the significant
increase in supplementary income support for people
The wages gap between men and women narrowed slightly, receiving benefits. The number of additional payments
from 86.7% at the end of 2013 to 88.2% at the end of 2018. 55 made for hardship reasons, rose from just over 800,000
By the end of 2018, the gender wage gap was perhaps the in 2013 to almost 1.3 million in 2018, with the value of
narrowest in history and marginally less than prior to the
GFC in 2010. 56 A similar narrowing of wage rates can be seen
payments increasing from $202 million to $350 million for
these periods. This more generous provision of top-up
in comparisons of average wages paid in the poorest paid benefits alongside the new Winter Energy Payment, which is
sector (hospitality) and the highest paid sector (financial worth $43 million in the current financial year, have probably
services). taken the sharp edge off the material hardship being felt by

Significant increases in the statutory minimum wage have

probably contributed to the reduction in wage inequality. As
families and households living on benefits. An example of
this impact is the 3% decline during 2018 in demand for food HOUSING
parcels from The Salvation Army foodbank network.
a proportion of the average hourly wage, the adult statutory
minimum wage rose from 50% in 2013 to around 56% in early However, the numbers of working-age adults receiving a
2019, with the most recently announced increase. Between benefit remains constant around 285,000, and this is despite Endnotes
2013 and 2019, the adult statutory minimum wage rose the official unemployment rate in September 2018 sinking
to a 10-year low of 3.7% of the workforce. The core of those Appendix
almost 18% in real terms. More workers are working for the
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Framing the Issues
From the Director
receiving a benefit, around 150,000 adults, do so for health Are You Well? Are We Safe?
or disability reasons and so are paid the Supported Living
payment or the Jobseeker/Health Condition payment. Their
needs and this number of people are unlikely to change
even in times of low unemployment. This permanence,
alongside the economic exclusion suffered by those reliant OUR CHILDREN
on welfare payments, suggest that a radical re-think is
required for setting benefit levels. Such a re-think should
look at avoiding the need for top-up and supplementary
payments, and could consider indexing benefit levels to
changes in wages and salaries as we already do for New
Zealand Superannuation.





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CRIME & PUNISHMENT Are You Well? Are We Safe?

Crime and the appropriate punishment of offenders on trends in sentencing and imprisonment, in an attempt
remain very topical issues for New Zealanders, but the to nurture a more informed debate around crime and
general public remains quite uninformed about levels
and patterns of criminal offending and of the value and
punishment in New Zealand. The results of this collection
are somewhat equivocal, both in terms of the trends,
effectiveness of prison. which might be identified, and the confidence to draw any
While crime is seen to be a widespread problem, the strong conclusions at this stage.
victimisation of criminal offending is very concentrated
and quite specific. The 2014 Crime and Safety Survey, for
example, reported that just over 3% of the population WORK & INCOMES
experienced 53% of offences and 1% of the population
experienced 62% of the family violence.57
Tougher and longer prison sentences are seen as the
answer to an apparent increase in violent crime. Yet, the CRIME &
Department of Corrections Annual Report indicates that
of the 8000 people who will be discharged from a prison PUNISHMENT
this year, perhaps 2500 will be back in prison within 12
months and 3500 will have returned with 24 months.
Part of the problem here is a lack of reliable data on
criminal offending, especially around family violence.
Headline crime data, which in the past showed that
crime rates were rising or falling, proved to be illusory.
Most crime goes unreported, and much of the offending
reported to police was just not included in the statistics
offered to the public. There is, however, evidence
that some types of offending are declining, although HOUSING
this evidence is not conclusive enough to convince a
public which is at risk of being misled by a sometimes
sensationalist media.
This chapter attempts to collect the various data available
on patterns of criminal offending and victimisation and Appendix

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OVERALL CRIME (e.g. breaches of order, or public nuisance) as well as

offending businesses and children.
Are You Well? Are We Safe?
Most crime goes unreported and unresolved • These offences happened to 355,000 households, and
There is no reliably consistent source of data on crime and the personal offences victimised 575,000 adult New
criminal offending to allow us to assess if rates of crime are
falling or rising. Data on criminal offending and the related
Zealanders. Adults, of course, live in households, so if
we take into account the numbers of adults impacted by
victimisation is available from three official sources: Police, household offences, and/or personal offences, then 1.155
Statistics New Zealand and Ministry of Justice. The Ministry million adults were victims of criminal offending during
of Justice publishes data on the outcomes from court the 12 months preceding the survey. This figure represents
processes, and has also recently published the initial results 29% of the adult population. Over the same period, 32% of
from the 2018 New Zealand Crime and Victims’ Survey households experienced a household-related offence. WORK & INCOMES
(NZCVS). 58 • The three most common offences were burglary (17% of
households), harassment or threatening behaviour (8% of
The NZCVS replaces the New Zealand Crime and Safety
adults) and fraud or deception (7% of adults).
Survey, which was undertaken every five years or so and last
released in 2015. The expectation is that the NZCVS will be • Men were as likely as women to be a victim of crime, and
people living in the large cities were as likely as other New
undertaken annually, and, eventually, be able to offer some
insight into the changing nature and pattern of criminal Zealanders to be victims. PUNISHMENT
offending and victimisation across New Zealand. Both • Māori faced a greater chance of being a victim of a
surveys asked randomly selected New Zealanders of their criminal offence at 37% compared with the New Zealand-
experience of crime over the 12 months before the interview. wide rate of 29%.
The NZCVS is seen as a future, reliable source of information
on actual levels of crime and not just the reported and
• Similarly, younger adults were more likely be a victim of
crime than were those aged over 65 years or older. The
recorded offending and offences offered through Police and prevalence for those aged between 20 to 29 years old was
court statistics. 40%, while it was 18% for those aged over 65.
Key results to emerge from the 2018 NZCVS are as follows:
Other data on criminal offending remains useful, despite the
• An estimated 1.777 million offences were experienced obvious utility offered by a regular and consistent victims’ HOUSING
over a 12-month period prior to the person’s interview. survey, such as NZCVS. Data on reported and recorded
Of these offences, just under 1.2 million were personal crime, along with information on offender apprehension,
offences (against an individual), while the remaining prosecution, conviction and sentencing, tell us a great deal
577,000 were against households or property-related about how we as a society are managing criminal offending. Endnotes
offences. Not included in these offences are victimless Some this data is offered below and covers the last four or
offences (e.g. illicit drug use), administrative offences five years.
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In 2016, Police changed the way it reported crime statistics. Table 10: Summary of adult offence volumes— Are You Well? Are We Safe?
The new system is based on counts of victims of crime—the 2015­–2018 (June years)60
Recorded Crime Victims Statistics (RCVS) and the Recorded
June years 2015 2016 2017 2018
Crime Offenders Statistics (RCOS). 59 Each statistical series is

presented in two ways. The RCVS reports on the number of Number of unique offenders 116,125 112,884 107,136 99,881
victimisations or the number of offences which a victim has Proceedings against
172,628 170,852 164,970 153,886
reported to Police, as well as the number of unique victims. offenders
This accounts for some victims experiencing a number of Number of unique victims 208,206 217,269 221,674 211,492
offences in one incident. Similarly, the RCOS reports on the Number of victimisations 249,690 262,509 270,173 260,896
number of unique offenders, the number of offences they
have committed and which have been pursued by Police.
Here a pursuit or proceeding might be referring the offence
Table 11: Estimates of resolution rates for violent and dishonesty WORK & INCOMES
to courts, perhaps in pursuit of a conviction, or may involve
a warning or some form of diversion. The various counts of June years 2015 2016 2017 2018
the volumes of offences, offenders and victims are offered
in summary form in Table 10 for the four years to June 2018.
Number of proceedings 28,517 28,228 27,243 25,419 CRIME &
Overall, the data reported in Table 10 shows some volatility Number of victimisations 50,167 53,978 55,992 55,840 PUNISHMENT
over the past four years, with a rise in reported offending Rate of proceedings to
for the year to 30 June 2017 and a subsequent decline in the 56.8% 52.3% 48.7% 45.5%
most recent year. Two observable trends emerge from this
data. One is that there has been no appreciable change in
the level of victimisation, both in terms of numbers of unique
Number of proceedings
Number of victimisations
victims and the numbers of reported offences. Against this
constancy, the numbers of offenders apprehended and the Rate of proceedings to
15.5% 14.4% 13.2% 12.4%
numbers of offences dealt with by Police fell by around 15% victimisations
between 2015 and 2018. This difference can probably be
accounted for by a decline in the resolution rate. This rate can
be seen as the number of offences proceeded with by Police,
The reporting by Police of offences as ‘victimisations’ and
as ‘proceeding against apprehended offenders’ means that
as a proportion of the number of offences reported to them, it is possible to have at least two versions of recorded crime
as in the number of unique victimisations. Resolution rates data. But not all categories of crime have victims, so it is not
measured here as the rate of reported victimisations leading possible to have a comprehensive offence number based Endnotes
to proceedings is reported in Table 11 for violent offences and on this approach. In order to estimate such a number, a
dishonesty offences. combination of proceedings data and victimisation data can Appendix

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Framing the Issues
From the Director
be used to provide a proxy of the recorded crime numbers— Table 12: Estimates of recorded criminal offences—2015–2018 Are You Well? Are We Safe?
an estimate is offered in Table 12. (June years)62

Taken over the four-year period covered by this data, there June years 2015 2016 2017 2018
has been no overall change in the number of recorded
Homicide and related
191 204 160 182
offences—at just over 360,000 annually. There has, however, offences
been a noticeable change in the composition of this Acts intended to cause injury 44,924 48,538 50,207 49,860
offending. This change has seen an increase in the numbers
Sexual assault and related
of offences for assaults (+5000), burglary (+7000), dangerous 5,243 5,440 5,785 5,980
acts endangering people (+2,400), and breaches of justice
Dangerous or negligent acts
orders (+2,200). Offsetting these increases there have been
declines in public order offences (-5,200), traffic offences
endangering persons
Abduction, harassment and
13,610 14,703 15,075 16,043
(-4,200), and thefts (-2,200). 7,074 6,841 6,062 5,410
related offences
Declining resolution rates contribute to falling numbers Robbery, extortion and
3,068 3,507 4,125 3,762
of convictions related offences
The decline in resolution rates, reported in Table 11, has Unlawful entry with intent/ CRIME &
58,364 66,400 71,930 65,355
probably contributed to the recent decline in the numbers burglary, etc
of people being convicted for an offence. This decline is Theft and related offences 137,747 138,288 137,716 135,534
reported in Table 13. Fraud, deception and related
3,001 3,266 3,394 3,124
Between the 2013 and 2018 June years, the numbers of
convictions for offences (not the number of individuals
convicted) fell 15% from 190,000 to 162,000, although this
Illicit drug offences
Prohibited weapons and




entire drop occurred between 2013 and 2014. These declines explosives offences
are across most categories of offences, with the exception Property damage and
8,662 8,144 6,991 6,162
being an increase in sexual assaults and in negligent environmental pollution
endangering acts. Public order offences 19,162 17,722 15,924 13,961
Traffic and vehicle regulatory
34,327 33,061 32,500 29,131
Offences against justice
13,550 14,795 16,084 15,772
procedures, etc
Miscellaneous offences 868 843 710 658
Total of all offence categories 362,550 374,783 379,306 363,507 Appendix

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Table 13: Convictions by offence category—2013–2018 (June years)63 Are You Well? Are We Safe?
Year ending 30 June 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018
Homicide and related offences 81 144 136 147 127 160
Acts intended to cause Injury
Sexual assault and related offences
Dangerous or negligent acts endangering persons 9,680 8,436 7,950 8,614 9,269 9,729
Dishonesty offences 38,438 33,481 31,819 33,322 33,387 31,903
Illicit drug offences 11,790 9,425 9,367 9,889 10,805 10,809
Offences against justice procedures 38,091 32,302 31,883 34,313 35,444 34,328 WORK & INCOMES
Traffic offences 45,758 42,858 39,455 38,159 38,939 37,137
Public order offences 9,932 7,407 6,505 5,346 5,337 5,355
Other offences
Total offences


Reported violent offences increase over the past four years in numbers of serious assaults resulting in injury. This
Police’s RVOS data series reports moderate increases in the volume grew by 3000 reported offences over this time.
numbers of reported violent offences over the past four Of some concern is the decline in rates of resolution
years. The number of aggravated sexual assaults grew 13%
between June 2015 and June 2018 years, while the numbers
of reported violent offences. As discussed above, this
resolution rate is calculated as the proportion of reported
of physical assaults (acts intended to cause injury) grew 11%
victimisations (or individual offences) which resulted in a
over the same period. These trends are reported in Table 14.
proceeding or a response by Police. For aggravated sexual
The 11% increase in reported physical assaults masks a shift assaults, this resolution rate decreased from 30% in 2015 to Endnotes
in the composition of such offences—as illustrated on Table 24% in 2018, while for serious assaults (resulting in injury)
14—where between 2015 and 2018, there was a 35% increase the rate slipped from 74% to 63% over the same period.
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Table 14: Violent offending—2015–2018 (June years)64 Are You Well? Are We Safe?
2015 2016 2017 2018
Aggravated sexual assault
Non-aggravated sexual assault
Sexual assaults 5,243 5,440 5,785 5,980

Common assault 24,694 25,982 25,764 25,173


Serious assault—no injury 11,647 13,411 14,618 13,067
Serious assault—resulting in injury 8,583 9,145 9,825 11,620
Acts intended to cause injury 44,924 48,538 50,207 49,860
Aggravated sexual assault
Non-aggravated sexual assault
Sexual assaults 1,970 1,991 1,939 1,777 PUNISHMENT
Common assault 13,640 12,902 11,740 10,480
Serious assault—no injury 6,554 6,861 6,994 5,837
Serious assault—resulting in injury
Acts intended to cause injury
Aggravated sexual assault 33% 32% 28% 24%
Non-aggravated sexual assault 60% 60% 63% 57%
Sexual assaults 38% 37% 34% 30% HOUSING
Common assault 55% 50% 46% 42%
Serious assault—no injury 56% 51% 48% 45%
Serious assault—resulting in injury 74% 71% 67% 63%
Acts intended to cause injury 59% 54% 50% 47% Appendix

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Family violence trends difficult to read from available data Are You Well? Are We Safe?
Some estimates of the prevalence of family violence suggest
that as much as 76% of family violence goes unreported
to Police. Police have suggested that they attend a family
violence incident every five minutes, yet there are no
statistics published by this agency to support this claim.65
Whatever the actual numbers are, it can reasonably be
accepted that reported family violence is, literally, just
the tip of the iceberg, of a problem which is of serious and
ongoing concern for New Zealand.

For example, the recently published Topline Report of

the NZCVS reported that 21% of women and 10% of men
have experienced one or more incidents of violence from
their partner during their lifetime.

But what relevant data is available, on the prevalence of CRIME &

family violence, paints a mixed-up picture of recent trends
in such violence; Table 15 summarises Ministry of Justice
data on trends in family violence offences between 2013 and
2018 (June years). This data shows an almost 40% increase
in cases of breaches of protection orders over these five
years, but little if any change in reported numbers of SOCIAL HAZARDS
physical assaults. It seems likely that some of the increased
reporting of serious physical assaults described in Table
14 is linked up with family violence trends, but we have no
direct data to support this assumption.



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Table 15: Trends in reported family violence offences—2013–2018 (June years)66 Are You Well? Are We Safe?
June years 2013 2017 2018 Change 2017–18 Change 2013–18


Total reported cases
Cases proven
People convicted 2,786 4,010 3,894 -3% 40%
People imprisoned 567 950 893 -6% 57%


Imprisonment as % of convictions 20.4% 23.7% 22.9%


Total reported cases 3,986 3,682 3,215 -13% -19%
Cases proven 3,354 3,065 2,678 -13% -20%
People convicted
People imprisoned
Imprisonment as % of convictions 10.8% 14.4% 13.6% PUNISHMENT
Total reported cases 6,324 6,107 6,101 0% -4%
Cases proven
People convicted
People imprisoned 864 1,059 997 -6% 15%
Imprisonment as % of convictions 21.2% 26.6% 25.3%


Total reported cases 14,181 15,062 14,643 -3% 3% HOUSING
Cases proven 10,596 11,454 10,933 -5% 3%
People convicted 9,494 10,360 9,913 -4% 4%
People imprisoned 1,396 1,882 1,791 -5% 28% Endnotes
Imprisonment as % of convictions 14.7%

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Fewer people sent to prison on the back of falling Prisoner population falls slightly
conviction numbers Measured on a quarterly basis, New Zealand’s prisoner
The numbers of convicted offenders sentenced to prison
fell more than 7% during the June 2018 year, from the recent
population reached an all-time record high of 10,645 at
the end of March 2018. Over the following two quarters, it
high number of such sentences handed down during the fell by almost 600 prisoners—or by nearly 6%—to stand at
previous year. The proportion of convictions resulting in 10,052 at the end of September 2018. Around two-thirds of
a prison sentence also fell slightly, although the rate—at this decline was due to a drop in the numbers of prisoners
12.8%—still remains high by historical standards. Judicial on remand—a fall of almost 400 remandees. The trends in
lenience was also expressed by a slightly higher proportion quarterly prisoner populations are reported in Figure 23. WORK & INCOMES
Table 16: Criminal prosecution trends for adults—2013–2018 (June years)67

Year ending June

People prosecuted for offences
People convicted of offences 78,011 71,032 66,075 64,680 64,615 62,360 PUNISHMENT
% of prosecutions leading to convictions 82.5% 82.5% 82.5% 82.5% 82.5% 82.5%
People diverted or discharged without conviction 2,484 2,027 2,144 2,118 2,061 2,068
% of proven cases leading to discharge/diversion
Imprisonment sentences
Imprisonment sentences as % of all convictions 10.2% 10.3% 11.4% 12.6% 13.4% 12.8%

of convicted offenders being discharged without conviction. Of the just over 10,000 prisoners incarcerated at the end of
For the year to 30 June 2018, this rate was 3% of all proven
cases compared with 2.9% during the previous year. Trends
September 2018, 29% were remand prisoners and almost
93% were male. At that time, a reported 51% of prisoners
in adult prosecution, conviction and sentencing are reported were Māori—or around 5,100 people—while almost 31% were
in Table 16. Pākehā/European and 11% were of Pacific Island descent.
These proportions changed little from those reported 12 Endnotes
months previously.

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As suggested elsewhere in this chapter, this recent fall in the Imprisonment rates continue to rise despite recent falls Are You Well? Are We Safe?
prisoner population is probably due to the combined effect in prisoner population
of a number of small shifts. These include the small decline We measured imprisonment rates on an averaged basis
in levels of reported offending (see Table 13), which has across a year and saw a further increase in rates for both
been matched by a modest decline in the numbers of people
being charged and convicted (Table 14). It also appears that
the total population and for Māori. This is because the
record prisoner population was reached in March, with only
defendants are spending less time on remand—so there are a modest fall in numbers between March and June, with the
fewer of them at any one time (Figure 7)—a small decline in average prisoner population over the year to 30 June 2018
the rate of convictions resulting in a prison sentence (Table almost 5% higher than for the previous 12 months.
17), and an increase in prisoners’ parole readiness which
has allowed the Parole Board to discharge more prisoners
earlier in their sentence (Figure 9). These are, however, early
Imprisonment rates for the total population and for Māori
are reported in Figure 24 for the six June years between 2013
days, and the recent progress of a falling prisoner population and 2018. This data shows an increase in imprisonment rates
needs to be seen in the context of the present prison muster, for the total population over each of the past three years,
from a rate of 189 prisoners for every 100,000 population in
which is still 20% higher than it was five years ago.

Figure 23: Prisoner population—2013–2018 (quarterly)68

the year to 30 June 2014 to 217/100,000 in the year to 30 June CRIME &
2018. For Māori, there was an increase from 617 prisoners per
100,000 population in 2014 to 717/100,000 in 2018. PUNISHMENT
Number of prisoners—thousands

Comparisons of imprisonment rates for Māori and non-Māori
8 show that the Māori imprisonment rate was 5.7 times higher
than the non-Māori rate in 2018 and was 5.6 times higher in
2014. These comparisons are also listed in the Gaps Table in SOCIAL HAZARDS
the Appendix to this report.
SEP 13 MAR 14 SEP 14 MAR 15 SEP 15 MAR 16 SEP 16 MAR 17 SEP 17 MAR 18 SEP 18

Remand prisoners Sentenced prisoners HOUSING



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Figure 24: Imprisonment rates—2013–2018 (June years)69 Figure 25: Proportion of sentenced prisoners granted Are You Well? Are We Safe?
parole—2008–2018 (June years)70

prisoners granted parole

Proportion of sentenced
Prisoners per 100,000 population

2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014
June years
2015 2016 2017 2018
Community-based sentences decline in line with lower
2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018 conviction numbers
June years
The number of convicted criminals being handed a non-
custodial community sentence declined by 25% between
Total population Māori
2013 and 2015 (June years) to just more than 41,000. This
drop is mainly due to falling prosecution and convictions
Parole releases rise for first time in four years
numbers, although a slightly smaller proportion of those
Following four consecutive years of falling rates of parole convicted are receiving community-based sentences. The
approval, the Parole Board has had a change of heart
and decided to release a greater proportion of sentenced
prisoners appearing before them. During the year to 30 June
numbers of people receiving home detention sentences
have remained stable at around 3500. These trends are SOCIAL HAZARDS
reported in Table 17.
2018, the Board undertook 6067 hearings and agreed to an
early release of 1424 prisoners or 23.5% of the cases heard.
During the previous year, the Board agreed to release 1245
prisoners or 22.6% of 5503 cases heard.

The 10-year trend of the proportion of sentenced prisoners

granted parole in any given year is provided in Figure 25.
During the June 2018 year 19.3% of the sentenced prisoner
population were released on parole compared with 17.4% Endnotes
in 2017.

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Table 17: New starts in community-based sentences—2013–2018 (June years)71 Are You Well? Are We Safe?
Year ending June 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018
Non-custodial community sentences commenced 54,778 49,121 46,463 44,805 43,370 41,015
Home detention sentences commenced
Rate of non-custodial community based sentences






(per 100,000 people over 18)

Prisoner custodial costs rise slightly

The average cost of incarcerating a prisoner rose marginally
between 2017 and 2018 to reach $91,300 per prisoner per Despite increased spending recidivism rates continue to rise
year, or around $250 per day, during the year to 30 June Government spending on prisoner rehabilitation and
2018. A year previously, this cost was approximately $90,450 reintegration rose 19% in nominal terms between 2017 and
(in June 2018 $ values) or around $248 per day. The most 2018 (June years) to exceed $216 million. On a per-sentenced
expensive year for maintaining a prisoner in prison was prisoner basis this spend is equivalent to an average spend CRIME &
2008, when it cost $97,000 per prisoner per year in inflation-
adjusted terms. Recent trends in average custodial costs are
of $29,100, which, in inflation-adjusted terms, is 13% more
than in 2017 and 29% more than five-years earlier. Trends in
reported in Figure 26. this spending are reported in Table 18.

Figure 26: Average custodial cost per prisoner—2013–2018 Yet despite this commitment, and the efforts by Department
(in June 2018 $s)72
of Corrections in delivering programmes, the recidivism
rates from New Zealand’s prisons remain high and are rising. SOCIAL HAZARDS
90,000 These trends are also offered on Table 18. Almost across the
Per prisoner spend at Jun-18 $ values

80,000 board, recidivism rates rose between 2017 and 2018 (June
70,000 years) with the only exception being a small reduction in
60,000 12-month re-offending and re-imprisonment rates for Māori
offenders. In 2018, re-imprisonment recidivism rates were
16% to 20% higher (in proportional terms) than they were in
30,000 2013. Re-offending recidivism rates were 4% to 7% more in
20,000 2018 than they were in 2013.
10,000 Endnotes
Māori recidivism rates remain around 11% higher (in
0 proportional terms) than those of the total population.
2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018 Appendix
June years

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Table 18: Prisoner recidivism and spending on rehabilitation and reintegration services—2013–2018 (June years)73 Are You Well? Are We Safe?
Year ending June 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018


12 month reimprisonment rate
12 month prison to reconviction
24 month reimprisonment rate 37.3% 36.8% 36.5% 39.6% 42.2% 43.2%
24 month prison to reconviction 58.8% 58.9% 57.0% 59.0% 59.7% 60.9%


12 month reimprisonment rate
12 month prison to reconviction 48.4% 46.2% 49.0% 48.7% 51.4% 50.4%
24 month reimprisonment rate 41.8% 41.2% 41.3% 44.8% 47.0% 49.6%

24 month prison to reconviction 63.5% 64.4% 63.2% 65.5% 65.8% 67.7%
Year ending June 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018

Spending on rehabilitative programmes & reintegration services

145,923 161,937 169,122 176,308 180,869 215,676
($millions nominal)

Average spend per sentenced prisoner in $Jun18 22,658 24,916 25,957 26,709 25,672 29,138




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While conviction volumes have declined recently, this decline appears more due to lower offender apprehension and
prosecution rates than to falling levels of background offending. As well, some of the recent reduction has been due
to changing enforcement of administrative-type offences. The recently released NZ Crime and Victims Survey has
provided a valuable resource to both gauge the extent of background criminal offending and to monitor changes in this

While there have been recent increases in reported volumes of aggravated sexual assault and serious physical assault,
there is no evidence to suggest that these changes are due to rising levels of societal violence. These increases may be
due to changing social attitudes to such violence and, with this, declining tolerance of it. The continuing lack of data on
family violence is a major barrier to addressing this deeply-rooted problem.


After at least three years of unrelenting growth in the prisoner population, the recent drop in this population is
welcome relief. This change is, however, modest in the context of the previous growth. A number of contributing factors,
such as fewer arrestees being sent to remand, have brought about this change. These may not be sufficient at their
current scale to drive further reductions.

The continuing rise in recidivism rates is disappointing, especially when the increasing commitment by Government to
prisoner rehabilitation and reintegration is taken into account. Reducing recidivism rates will always be a long term and
challenging problem, so it was unrealistic to expect early and easy results. But there is absolutely no progress over the
past three years, and it is probably time to look for new models of rehabilitation and reintegration.

+ Tangible or consistent progress - Slipping back NC No change HOUSING



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OVERALL ASSESSMENT Wider public interest in doing so may be limited, especially

if the recent law and order ‘tough on crime’ narrative goes
Are You Well? Are We Safe?
Our homes and communities are free from violence unchallenged. An argument can be made that our recent
and crime experience with tougher sentences, bigger prisoners and
There is no evidence available to suggest that our homes
and communities are becoming safer. Recent but modest
tougher bail laws have not worked. There has been no
appreciable reduction in background offending—except, OUR CHILDREN
declines in conviction volumes may largely be due to perhaps, amongst youth—and re-offending and re-
changing enforcement practices and falling resolution imprisonment rates have simply increased year after year.
rates rather than any drop in offending. While there is some Addressing this failure, and the narrative which drove it,
evidence that victimisation by violent crime has grown a
little, the absence of any reliable data, especially around
family violence, makes it difficult to be certain of this. The
requires a compelling alternative, and that is what the
Justice Forum is expected to achieve. Part of a useful WORK & INCOMES
response may involve looking at the small success
small increase in victimisations may be due to a change in stories—which already exist in many communities—around
reported behaviours rather than an increase in offending. addressing addictions, violent behaviours and youth
It is, however, the case that most homes and communities alienation. Welding such ideas into a coherent national
strategy might be a daunting challenge, especially if, as a
in New Zealand are safe and relatively free from violence
and other crime. Violence and crime are often quite country, we remain divided around the underlying causes of PUNISHMENT
concentrated into 5% to 10% of our communities, and the criminal offending.
continuing presence of social hazards and—in particular,
methamphetamine and alcohol—hinders any progress in
making these areas safe and prosperous.

The policy challenge here is to offer very selective

interventions, which target at-risk neighbourhoods and
communities. The fact is that victimisation by violence and
other criminal offending is quite concentrated and often
associational. Victims live with, or nearby, offenders, and
the pattern of offending and victimisation is structured by
poverty, lack of opportunity and exposure to personal and
social risks. In order to make our homes and communities
safer, it requires us to especially focus our efforts on these Endnotes
contributing causes.

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SOCIAL HAZARDS Are You Well? Are We Safe?

Social hazards are the risks generated by a small number

of activities that people find enjoyable, but pose a risk
of harm to themselves, their family members or others
around them. These activities include the consumption
Alcohol availability reaches a record high
The volume of alcohol available for consumption in New
of alcohol, use of drugs—impacting the central nervous Zealand reached an all-time high during the year to 30
system—pornography and gambling. September 2018, of 34.6 million litres of pure alcohol. This
Society’s response to these social hazards and the is a 3.6% increase over the previous 12 months and 5% more
activities which generate them is to either regulate or
prohibit them. Where the associated risks of an activity
than 5 years earlier.

Assessed on a per-capita basis, this increase is more

are seen as manageable, or where the harm done by the
modest, however. Availability during the 12 months to 30
activity is at a socially acceptable level, the activity will
September reached 9.24 litres of pure alcohol for every New
be regulated, as in the case of alcohol use and gambling.
Zealander aged over 18 years old. This is 1.3% higher than in
Where the risks and harm are seen to be socially
unacceptable—as with some drugs and with children’s
2017, but more than 6% lower than in 2013 when there was CRIME &
association with pornography—the activity is prohibited.
9.86 litres of alcohol available for every adult. The trend in
per-capita availability of alcohol for the period 2008 to 2018
The State of the Nation Report 2019 has broadened is offered in Figure 27.
its focus on social hazards to include debt and fringe
lending, alongside the three acknowledged forms of This increased availability of alcohol has been driven by
social hazards: alcohol consumption, drug taking and
gambling. The reason for The Salvation Army’s concern
increased production and presumable consumption of all
the main categories of alcoholic beverages. Beer availability SOCIAL HAZARDS
over fringe lending is that it can, and often does, lead grew a modest 1.5% between 2017/18 to 290 million litres for
to ruinous debt. This is debt being sold to poor and the year ending September 2018. Within this growth, there
vulnerable people on almost impossible terms and at was a decline in production/consumption of mid-strength
usurious interest rates. These business practices can beers (around 2.5–4.0% ABV) and a 12% growth in availability
cause serious material hardship to people who end up
trapped in a cycle of debt, which may diminish their
in higher-strength beers. This shift has been credited to a
shift in consumer preference toward craft beers.
opportunities and lives. Often, too, ruinous debt is For the fourth straight year, the volume of lower-strength
associated with other social hazards—such as drug taking spirit-based beverages—such as RTDs (ready to drink) or
and gambling—and can be driven by these activities, or Endnotes
alcopops—has grown and reached 64.6 million litres for
facilitate them. the year to 30 September 2018. This is the second highest Appendix

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volume of availability on record and is only beaten by that Minimal reduction in hazardous drinking patterns Are You Well? Are We Safe?
of 2010/11 when 66.2 million litres were available. Recent results from the New Zealand Health Survey (NZHS)
Figure 27: Per capita alcohol availability—2008–201874 FIGURE 27 show a small reduction in the proportion of the population
who drink hazardously 79 from time-to-time.
consumption for every person over 18
Litres of pure alcohol available for

Data from the NZHS for the past three years is provided
in Table 19. This data shows a small 1% decline in the rate
8 of hazardous drinking amongst the general population,
6 although this reduction may not be statistically significant
at this stage, given the sampling error attached to these

results. Given this caveat, the 2017/18 results show the
decline in rates of hazardous drinking was greater for men
than for women, although the male rate is still twice the
2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018 female one. In this data, it is gratifying to see the significant
September years
decline in hazardous drinking amongst 18- to 24-year-olds,
While alcoholic beverages get cheaper
with a decline of 6.4% between 2015/16 and 2017/18. CRIME &
Alongside this availability, it appears that alcoholic
beverages are becoming relatively cheaper. A Health
Of some concern, is the possible increase in rates of
hazardous drinking amongst older New Zealanders, with the
Promotion Agency 2018 report on trends in the affordability hazardous drinking rate amongst 65- to 74-year-olds rising
of alcohol found that the price of alcohol had changed little from 10.1% in 2015/16 to 12.5% in 2017/18. These rates are,
however, considerably lower than those reported in other
in nominal terms over the period between 2012 and 2017 and
so relative to wages and salaries it had become relatively research on drinking patterns of older New Zealanders.80 SOCIAL HAZARDS
cheaper.75 This report found that it cost as little 66 cents for This study, published by the Health Promotion Agency
a standard drink,76 and that it could take just 2 minutes of in 2017 and based on the Health, Work & Retirement
work for someone on the median wage to afford this.77 Longitudinal Study, showed that perhaps 43% of older New
Zealanders (aged over 50) are drinking hazardously.81
A comparison in the price changes in alcoholic beverages
with consumer prices overall, over the past five years, HOUSING
confirms this improving relative affordability of alcohol. For
the five years to 30 September 2018, the price of alcoholic
beverages rose just 0.75%, while the overall consumer price
index rose 6%.78

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Table 19: Proportion of population drinking hazardously— Two trends emerge from this analysis. First is the appreciable Are You Well? Are We Safe?
2015–201882 decline in rates of offending against the higher threshold—
offending fell 32% between 2013 and 2017, from 23,800
2015/16 2016/17 2017/18
offences to 16,200, but rose by almost 4% in 2018 to 16,800.

Total population 20.8% 19.5% 19.8% In 2010, a total of 33,100 drink-driving offences against this
Men 28.6% 27.1% 27.3% higher threshold were reported, so the 2018 figure is
Women 13.4% 12.4% 12.7% almost half this amount, which should still be seen as
considerable progress.
15–17 7.9% 7.6% 7.2%
18–24 37.1% 32.9% 31.7% However, against this reduced volume of reported offences

65–74 10.1% 10.5% 12.5%

there has been a sharp reduction in the Police effort into
monitoring compliance by drivers. This is especially so WORK & INCOMES
Māori 31.1% 33.0% 31.7% between 2017 and 2018 when there was a 21% reduction in
Decile 1 income (highest) 19.2% 16.4% 16.2% the number of RBTs done.
Decile 2 income 17.3% 15.4% 19.5% We have no way of knowing whether or not the reduced
Decile 3 income 22.1% 21.6% 21.4% level of offending is due changing driver behaviour, or to CRIME &
Decile 4 income 21.1% 21.6% 20.5%
low levels of surveillance. It is the case that during the year
to 30 June 2018, 1% of the almost 1.7 million road side RBTs
Decile 5 income (lowest) 24.6% 22.9% 21.5%
undertaken resulted in a conviction for a driving with an
excess blood-alcohol level. In 2016, this ‘failure’ rate was
Small increase in alcohol-related driving offences just above 0.6%. The proportion of RBTs resulting in a drink-
For the first time in at least a decade, the number of alcohol
related traffic offences has increased, although only by 3–4%.
driving conviction for the period between 2008 and 2018 is
reported in Figure 28.
These recent increases need to be seen in the context of the
2014 introduction of lower blood-alcohol thresholds and,
with this, a two-tier system of penalties, along with the effort
being given to roadside breath testing (RBT) of drivers.

Data on drink-driving offences for the five years to 30 June HOUSING

2018 is offered in Table 20. This data separates alcohol-
related driving offences according to the blood-alcohol
threshold being applied. Such separation offers the
opportunity to study long-term trends in offending against
the higher thresholds and to compare these with the
background driver testing being conducted.
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Table 20: Drink-driving indicators—2013–201883 Are You Well? Are We Safe?
June years 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018
Total alcohol specific offences 26,336 22,297 23,686 25,921 24,967 25,728
Drug specific offences
Lower limit adult drink-driving offences
Under 20’s zero limit drink-driving offences 2,555 1,945 1,638 1,409 1,382 1,370
Higher limit drink-driving offences 23,781 20,352 17,121 16,248 16,160 16,795
Number of RBTs undertaken
Proportion of RBTs failed
MoJ data on DIC charges 26,463 23,071 19,362 17,656 17,630 17,901
MoJ data on DIC convictions 24,393 21,795 18,304 16,773 16,713 17,016

Figure 28: Proportion of roadside breath tests resulting in
a conviction for driving with excess blood-alcohol levels—
2008–201884 Methamphetamine dominates our illicit drug story
1.4% The volumes of reported drug-related offending and
DIC convictions as % of RBTs undertaken

convictions for drug offences were much the same in June

1.2% 2018 year, as they were for the previous 12 months. Volumes
of convictions for drug offences were, however, 10% fewer
in 2018 than five years previously. This decline appears
to be mainly due to a change in the drug at the centre
0.6% of offending, with the declining importance of cannabis
0.4% and the unrelenting rise in methamphetamine, and also
enforcement efforts.
The volumes of convictions for drug offences between 2008
2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018 and 2018 are reported in Figure 29. For the 12 months to
June years 30 June 2018, there were 10,806 recorded convictions for Endnotes
illicit drug offences—just 14 more convictions than in the
previous year, but almost 1000 fewer than in 2013. Figure 30
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reports the proportional make-up of this offending. In 2008,
cannabis-related drug offences made up 72% of all offences, 2008–201886 FIGURE 30
Figure 30: Types of drugs charges by share of all charges— Are You Well? Are We Safe?
while methamphetamine offences contributed just 18%. 50%
By 2018 (30 June year), convictions for methamphetamine 45%
offences had reached 45% of all illicit drug convictions, 40%

Proportion of all drugs charges

while cannabis-related offending had slipped to 41%.
Figure 31 reports the numbers of convictions for 30%
methamphetamine offences on an annual basis from 2008 25%
to 2018. This data shows that such convictions almost
doubled between 2013 and 2018 from 2408 to 4672.

Figure 29: ConvictionsFIGURE 29

for illicit drug convictions—2008–2018 85
16 5%
Number of convictions—thousands

14 0%

2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018
12 June years
Cannabis use/possession Other cannabis Methamphetamine PUNISHMENT
Figure 31: Convictions for methamphetamine-related drug
offences—2008–201887 FIGURE 31
2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018
Number of convictions

500 Endnotes
2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018
June years Appendix

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In 2018, New Zealand Police decided to end its Arrestee Drug be seen, and the Police’s commitment to rolling out the Are You Well? Are We Safe?
Use Monitoring programme, which it ran in partnership with programme beyond the pilot stage is not known. Somewhat
Massey University since 2010. This survey provided valuable interestingly, the last data reported was in August 2018 for
intelligence of the status of the illicit drug market, and on June 2018, and no public announcement of the future of the
the extent and nature of drug taking amongst an at-risk
group of New Zealanders.
programme has been made.
In its place, Police have developed a pilot programme to 2016–June 201890 FIGURE 32
Figure 32: Estimates of weekly methamphetamine use—December

test urban wastewater for residues of various illicit drugs, 9000

including methamphetamine and MDMA or ecstasy. This 8000

Drug use (mg/week/1000 people)

pilot programme has been running since December 2016 and
is testing wastewater over a one-week period every month
in Whāngārei, Auckland’s North Shore (at the Rosedale
Wastewater Treatment Plant) and in Christchurch.
Results from this testing can be summarised in graphs, such
as that offered in Figure 32 for methamphetamine use. This
2000 CRIME &
graph, and the related data, report drug use as a volume
rate for a standard population size—in this case, milligrams
per 1000 people in the catchment population. DEC 16 FEB 17 APR 17 JUN 17 AUG 17 OCT 17 DEC 17 FEB 18 APR 18 JUN 18

While this monitoring programme is still in its pilot Whāngārei Auckland Christchurch
phase, two things stand out from the results so far. The
first is the regional variation in drug use—for example, SOCIAL HAZARDS
methamphetamine use appears much higher in Whāngārei
than in Auckland and Christchurch, but MDMA use in
Christchurch is much higher than in Auckland and is minimal
in Whāngārei.88 Methamphetamine is, however, easily the
drug of choice of the five monitored in the programme. The
second initial trend to draw from this data is there is no
discernible increase in the use of methamphetamine over
the period of the survey, although there may be an increase
in the use of MDMA.89 Endnotes
The usefulness of this approach to detecting meaningful
changes in New Zealanders’ use of illicit drugs remains to
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Figure 33: Prevalence of Class 4 gaming machines—2008–201891 Are You Well? Are We Safe?

Class 4 gaming machines per 10,000

Class 4 machine numbers continue to fall while gambling
losses rise

people aged over 18 years

The prevalence of Class 4 gaming machines in New Zealand
has continued to decline, while the amounts being lost 40 OUR CHILDREN
on these remaining machines has risen. At the end of 30
September 2018, there were 15,342 Class 4 gaming machines 20
operating in New Zealand. This figure is 175 fewer than a year 10
previously and almost 2000 fewer than five years earlier. On
a per-capita basis in September 2018, there were 41 Class 4
machines available for every 10,000 adults. This availability
2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018
September years
is down from 43/10,000 in September 2017 and 52/10000
in 2013. This availability for the past 10 years is reported Real per-capita gambling remains stable
in Figure 33. At their 2002 peak, 82 Class 4 machines were
operating for every 10,000 adults.
Total spending on gambling in New Zealand exceeded $2.4
billion during the year to 30 June 2018. The total spend is CRIME &
Despite this declining availability, the amounts being lost
estimated at $2.43 billion, which is $91 million, or nearly 4%
more, than in the previous year. Spending by the class or
on Class 4 machines are rising. For the year to 30 September
form of gambling is reported in Table 21 for the period 2013
2018, $903 million was lost in this form of gambling. In
to 2018.
inflation-adjusted terms this is the highest value of losses
since 2012.

Of course with fewer gaming machines, but higher losses,

Spending on gambling for the June 2018 year has yet to be
reported by Department of Internal Affairs (DIA), the agency SOCIAL HAZARDS
responsible for gambling regulation, so data for the most
the average loss per machine has risen. During the
recent year are in part estimates. With the exception of
September 2013 quarter each Class 4 machine retained on
gambling losses in casinos, the remaining data is based on
average $11,900 in gamblers’ losses, while by the September
official sources so is quite reliable.92
2018 quarter this figure had grown 29% to $15,300. The
non-club venues with 18 machines are more popular with Allowing for inflation and population growth per adult (aged HOUSING
gamblers, as during the September 2018 quarter, average 18+) spending remained constant between 2017 and 2018 at
losses per machine in these venues was $19,300. $652 per adult per year. This figure is slightly less than in
2013 when it reached $659 per person. The peak per-adult Endnotes
spending of recent times was in 2004, when the spend was
$908 per person at June 2018 prices. Appendix

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Table 21: Gambling expenditures—2013–2018 (in $millions nominal)93 The Health and Lifestyle Survey was undertaken by the Are You Well? Are We Safe?
Health Promotion Agency in 2016, and part of this survey
June years 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018 specifically focused on gambling behaviours.98 This survey
NZ Racing Board–TAB 294 311 325 342 338 350 found a smaller proportion (than the NZNGS) of New
NZ Lotteries
Commission—My Lotto
432 463 420 437 555 561
Zealanders—70%—had participated in at least one form of
gambling in the previous year. It also found that while just OUR CHILDREN
Class 4 gaming 0.1% of adults could be categorised as problem gamblers,
826 806 818 843 870 895 around 5% of adult New Zealanders, or around 186,000
people, reported causing or experiencing some harm from
Casinos 520 509 527 586 572 578
gambling. Half of those who gambled on ECMs in pubs or
Total expenditure (in
nominal dollars)
2072 2089 2091 2209 2334 2425 clubs on a monthly basis reported experiencing some harm,
while 26% of those who engaged in sports betting on a
Per adult spending in regular basis did so as well.99
659 644 627 644 652 652
Jun-18 $s
Problem gambling services user data, published in 2018 by
Problem gambling picture remains unchanged with Class
4 gambling still the most problematic
Ministry of Health, reports demand and usage of Ministry-
funded services between 2005 and 2017. In 2017, just under
Three recently released reports on problem gambling 12,000 people used these services, which is a similar volume PUNISHMENT
show little change in the extent and nature of harmful and as for each of the previous five years. A slightly larger
addictive gambling. Although this data is from 2015 to 2017 it proportion of these clients had previously used the service
shows sustained demand for problem gambling services and in 2017—this figure was 28% compared with 24% in 2012. This
little change in the nature of such demand.

Results of Wave 4 of the New Zealand National Gambling

suggests, perhaps, that there is an increasing incidence of
relapsing problem gamblers. A higher proportion of people SOCIAL HAZARDS
contacting problem gambling services are family or friends
Study (NZNGS) were published in 2018, but relate to surveys of gamblers, rather than the gamblers themselves. This
undertaken in 2015.94 This survey found that proportionately proportion (of non-gamblers) rose from 30% in 2012 to 39%
fewer adults gambled in 2015 than in 2012—down from 80% in 2017. Consistent with previous results, the 2017 service
to 75%.95 A relatively small proportion of adults—around
13%—gamble on electronic gaming machines (EGMs), with
user data identified that Class 4 gaming remains the main
source of gambling harm for half of those seeking help.100
EGMs in pubs being more popular than those in clubs or
casinos.96 The survey also found that 0.1% of the adult
population could be classified as problem gamblers, with Endnotes
one-third of these becoming so recently and the remainder
having been so for some time.97 Appendix

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DEBT & FRINGE LENDING The Commerce Commission also undertook a review of
mobile traders or shopping trucks in 2014. These businesses
Are You Well? Are We Safe?
Debt and borrowing money do not generate the are regulated under the CCCF Act and the Fair Trading
physiological and psychological responses associated Act 1986. This review found that 31 of the 32 businesses
with drug use, drinking alcohol and gambling that place
people at risk of addiction, but it is the case that ruinous
surveyed did not meet one or several legal obligations
under CCCF Act and the Fair Trading Act.103 OUR CHILDREN
debt or exploitative lending can trap people in a cycle of
While the poor practices of fringe lenders are now becoming
dependence and poverty, in much the same way as alcohol,
better known, there is no precise data on the size of this
drugs and gambling might. For this reason, we have included
sector, or of trends of its growth or demise. The data offered
debt and fringe lending as a social hazard—in other words,
an activity which many people find desirable to have in their
lives, but risk harm and hurt for some people involved in
in Figure 34 is a best estimate available on the size of this
sector of lending. This graph reports total lending to New WORK & INCOMES
Zealand households for consumer goods and services by
this activity.
non-bank lending institutions, such as third-tier finance
Fringe lending and the exploitative debt, which is often companies and payday lenders.
associated with it, are to some extent regulated by the
Credit Contracts and Consumer Finance Act 2003 (CCCF). This
Over the most recent year of available data (to 30 CRIME &
Act was amended in 2014, in order to place more control
September 2018) consumer lending by non-bank lending
institutions grew by almost 10% in inflation-adjusted terms
over lenders and their practices. While these amendments
to $4.54 billion. Over the past five years, this type of lending
have somewhat reduced the extent of financial abuse
has expanded almost 39% in inflation-adjusted terms and
of vulnerable borrowers, the extent of compliance with
by almost $1.5 billion in nominal terms.
the amended Act is limited and the legal limitations to
such practices—such as interest rate setting and onerous
contracts—are still not controlled by legislation.
Figure 34: Consumer lending by non-bank lending
institutions—2013–2018—at Sep-18 $ values104 FIGURE 34
The Commerce Commission is responsible for administering
$ billions at Sep-2018 values

the CCCF Act. In 2017, the Commission undertook a review 4

of the websites of 215 finance companies and lending
institutions offering credit under the CCCF Act. This review
identified that 21% or 46 lenders had failed to meet one or 2
several of their obligations under the Act.101 The review also
found that of the 115 lenders who published their interest
rates online, 58% offered interest rates of more than 20%, SEP 13 MAR 14 SEP 14 MAR 15 SEP 15 MAR 16 SEP 16 MAR 17 SEP 17 MAR 18 SEP 18
while 19% advertised interest rates above 100%.102 Appendix

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The very modest increase in the availability and presumable consumption of alcohol is not by itself a cause for
concern and neither should alcohol’s improving affordability be concerning. What is and should be of concern are the
impacts of these trends on some New Zealander’s drinking behaviours. While rates of hazardous drinking have not
deteriorated overall—they have not improved either. The small but significant increase in hazardous drinking amongst
older New Zealanders is of some concern, although falling rates of such drinking amongst 18- to 24-year-olds should be
applauded. Emerging evidence of alcohol-related traffic offences is of some concern as well.


Another year and the growing dominance of methamphetamine in the national drug story continues. Some of this
rising importance—especially around the volume of convictions—may be driven by Police monitoring and enforcement
efforts, and this emphasis is to be applauded. The absence of a programme to monitor trends in drug availability and
use is concerning, as it limits any scope for informed policy responses.
There has been minimal change around gambling, with per-capita spending remaining constant and Class 4 gaming
machine numbers stabilising. The patterns of problem gambling have changed only a little, with perhaps more demand
coming from relapsed problem gamblers rather than new ones. The reluctance of policy makers to address the
challenges posed by on-line gambling remains a concern.
The benign framing of fringe lending and its associated debt continues to ignore the substantial harm being done
in some communities by loan sharks and repo people. The Commerce Commission’s monitoring and enforcement
activities are beginning to shine light into exploitative business practices, although the current stance of legislation will
do little to address the imbalance between money lenders and vulnerable borrowers. The 40% real increase over the
past five years in consumer debt owed to second- and third-tier lenders is a limited indication of how this situation is HOUSING
not improving.

+ Tangible or consistent progress - Slipping back NC No change



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OVERALL ASSESSMENT There appears to be a complacency here—a sense that the

status quo is OK. This complacency may be due in part to
Are You Well? Are We Safe?
Our homes and communities are free from addictions and ignorance, or at least an ignoring of the harms done by social
related harms hazards. Many of these harms are not evenly distributed
There is no evidence to suggest that our homes and
communities face less risk from social hazards than we did
across our society, as they weigh more heavily on the poor
and marginalised than they do on the middle class and OUR CHILDREN
five years ago; at best we have stood still and at worst we well off. This distributional pattern may account for this
may be sliding backwards a little. complacency, or perhaps for a broad consensus that the
balance between social regulation and individual choice and
The availability and consumption of alcohol has changed responsibility has been achieved with the current policy mix.
little over the past five years. Rates of hazardous drinking
have remained the same. Although younger adults’ drinking It doesn’t seem that much will change and that the harm WORK & INCOMES
behaviours have improved, those of older adults have done by addictions and dependence will diminish until we
slightly worsened. There is some evidence that changing accept the need to review this policy mix and pay greater
attitudes to drinking and driving have slipped back, and, as regard to the harm caused by our social hazards.
noted elsewhere in this report, our record on family violence
seems intractable.
As a country, we have seen the blight of methamphetamine
gradually deepen, although there is no evidence that
things got worse over the past 12 months or so. This
malaise may be due in part to the absence of a deliberate
and dispassionate debate around national drug policy,
along with some discussion of where our Police and other
enforcement efforts should go in addressing the spread of
illicit drugs.

Patterns of gambling—including the division of gambling

activities and the drivers of harm—have remained unchanged.
The harm being done to many poorer families and
households by predator lending practices of loan sharks and
payday lenders has gone unchecked, despite recent changes
in consumer credit law. Levels of such lending may be Endnotes
increasing, but the lack of any effective monitoring means
that this trend cannot be accurately identified.
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HOUSING Are You Well? Are We Safe?

The past 12 months have seen considerable change in

housing markets and housing policies. The long predicted
slowdown in Auckland housing price inflation appears to
have arrived, and prices and rents are easing further in
Consents for new dwellings reach 43-year record high
Consents issued for new dwellings during 2018 reached the
Christchurch, as that city moves into a post-recovery era. highest volume since 1974 at 32,900 dwellings. New dwelling
Many other cities in New Zealand—especially Queenstown consents in Auckland almost reached 13,000 during 2018,
and northern North Island cities—have experienced rapid which is 19% more than in 2017, and more than twice the
increases in sale prices and rents, which are creating
difficulties for poorer residents in these places.
number consented during 2013 when 6,300 dwellings were
approved. Twenty-year trends for new dwelling consents for WORK & INCOMES
Consents for new dwellings are at volumes last seen more Auckland and New Zealand are reported in Figure 35.
than 40 years ago, and, finally, in Auckland, we are seeing
The record level of residential building in Auckland was
new supply catch up with population growth. This has
almost matched by that region’s population growth. Figure
merely taken pressure out of further cost increases, but
has not made housing any more affordable in that region.
36 and Table 22 report population data for New Zealand and CRIME &
Our love affair with debt—especially housing-related
Auckland for the past decade. During the 12 months to 30 June
2018, Auckland’s population grew by 2.3% or by an estimated
debt—has continued, as household debt reached a new 38,700 people. Over the same period, New Zealand’s
record high, approaching 100% of GDP for the first time population grew 91,600 or by 1.9%. This growth compares
in our history. This indebtedness has been bolstered and the estimated growth of 100,700 during the 12 months to 30
supported by historically low interest rates, but leaves
hundreds of thousands of New Zealand households
June 2017, which was the largest population increase in New
Zealand’s history. As discussed in the Work and Incomes
exposed to the risk of interest rate rises. Presently, this chapter, and reported in Figure 9, this record growth was on
does not look much of a prospect, however. account of record net migration of 70,000 people.

Table 22 also compares population growth with consents

for new dwellings, in order to gain a picture of how this
level of residential building activity matches population
growth. This assessment is undertaken by applying the
average dwelling occupancy to population growth figures,
as a way of estimating how many additional dwellings Endnotes
could be expected to be built, in order to cater for this
population growth. The average dwellings occupancy has Appendix

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FIGURE 36 Are You Well? Are We Safe?

been estimated from the 2013 Census for Auckland and Figure 36: Population change in Auckland and New Zealand—
New Zealand.105 For Auckland the average household size 2009–2018107
is estimated to be 3.09 people per dwelling, and for New 120,000
Zealand it is assumed to be 2.75 people for dwelling.
Table 22 identifies that during the year to 30 June 2018,

Number of people
Auckland’s population growth of 38,700 people required
12,524 new dwellings to be built, consents for 12,369 were
issued. This represents a small deficit of 155 dwellings. The 40,000
deficit for the rest of New Zealand—estimated on the basis 20,000
of 2.75 people per dwelling—is 294 units. 0
It is likely, however, that some of the consented dwellings
2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018
June years
will not be built, and dwellings will be demolished in the
redevelopment of established suburbs. The results, for the Auckland Rest of New Zealand
June 2018 year, do indicate that building activity is finally
matching population growth. In Auckland, this match is the
first time since the June 2013 year. Over the most recent five
Rising demand for social housing not matched by
supply increases CRIME &
years, the cumulative housing deficit in Auckland is 18,000
units—enough homes for 55,000 people. Priority demand for public and other social housing has PUNISHMENT
more than doubled in two years. At the end of September

—1999–2018106 FIGURE 35
Figure 35: Consents for new dwellings in Auckland and New Zealand 2018, 9536 households were on the social housing waiting
list and assessed as being a Priority A or B applicants. In
35,000 September 2017, this figure was 5844 and in September 2016
Number of consents for new dwellings

30,000 it was 4602. The Priority A and B waiting list for public and
social housing is reported in Figure 37 for the period June
2014 to September 2018.
Against this, in almost 3700 priority applicants in a year, the
reported number of houses available through income-related
rent contracts (IRRS) expanded by just over 1400, and the HOUSING
number of social housing units available for IRRS grew by just
over 1200. Recent trends in the availability of IRRS places and
0 social housing units are reported in Figure 38.
2000 2002 2004 2006 2008 2010 2012 2014 2016 2018 Endnotes
June years
For balance, these figures and trends require some context.
New Zealand Auckland The apparent recent and sudden increase in the social Appendix

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housing waiting list is mainly on account of changing
practices by Ministry of Social Development (MSD) in how
Figure 38: Social housing availability—2017–2018110 FIGURE 38 Are You Well? Are We Safe?
its staff receive and respond to requests for housing

Number of dwellings—thousands
assistance. Some argument can be offered that before late

2016 the waiting list was managed for political reasons and 66
MSD operated a somewhat opaque gatekeeping system, 65
which limited access to the waiting list.108 In addition, it 64
was not until early 2017 that consistent reporting of IRRS 63
tenancies and the numbers of social housing units was
undertaken. The increasing numbers of such units is,
however, questionable, given that social housing owned by
Auckland Council and Christchurch City Council have been
MAR 17 JUN 17 SEP 17 DEC 17 MAR 18 JUN 18 SEP 18
placed in separate organisations and now allowed access to
IRRS. With these transfers there has been no increase in the IRRS Tenancies Social housing stock
social housing stock, merely a change in how it is paid for.

Figure 37: Social housing waiting list—2014–2018109
Applicants with A or B status

JUN 14 DEC 14 JUN 15 DEC 15 JUN 16 DEC 16 JUN 17 DEC 17 JUN 18
June years



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Table 22: Estimates of population change and new house building—2008–2018111 Are You Well? Are We Safe?
June years 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018

Resident population
Annual population
4,259,800 4,302,600 4,350,700 4,384,000 4,408,100 4,442,100 4,509,700 4,595,700 4,693,200 4,793,900 4,885,500
36,000 42,800 48,100 33,300 24,100 34,000 67,600 86,000 97,500 100,700 91,600
Dwellings required for
13,091 15,564 17,491 12,109 8,764 12,364 24,582 31,273 35,455 36,618 33,309
population growth
Consents for new
23,261 14,175 16,167 13,539 15,414 18,783 23,316 25,154 29,097 30,453 32,860
Surplus/deficit 10,170 -1,389 -1,324 1,430 6,650 6,419 -1,266 -6,119 -6,358 -6,165 -449

Resident population 1,405,500 1,421,700 1,439,600 1,459,600 1,476,500 1,493,200 1,526,900 1,569,900 1,614,400 1,657,200 1,695,900
Annual population CRIME &
15,100 16,200 17,900 20,000 16,900 16,700 33,700 43,000 44,500 42,800 38,700
Dwellings required for
4,887 5,243 5,793 6,472 5,469 5,405 10,906 13,916 14,401 13,851 12,524
population growth
Consents for new
5,769 3,212 3,656 3,394 4,197 5,343 6,873 8,300 9,651 10,364 12,369
Surplus/deficit 882 -2,031 -2,137 -3,078 -1,272 -62 -4,033 -5,616 -4,750 -3,487 -155 SOCIAL HAZARDS
Resident population 2,854,300 2,880,900 2,911,100 2,924,400 2,931,600 2,948,900 2,982,800 3,025,800 3,078,800 3,136,700 3,189,600
Annual population
20,900 26,600 30,200 13,300 7,200 17,300 33,900 43,000 53,000 57,900 52,900
Dwellings required for
population growth
8,204 10,321 11,698 5,637 3,294 6,959 13,676 17,357 21,053 22,767 20,785
Consents for new
17,492 10,963 12,511 10,145 11,217 13,440 16,443 16,854 19,446 20,089 20,491
Surplus/deficit 9,288 642 813 4,508 7,923 6,481 2,767 -503 -1,607 -2,678 -294

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HOUSING AFFORDABILITY Figure 39: House prices to incomes—2008–2018112 FIGURE 39 Are You Well? Are We Safe?

Years of income at the average wage

House prices ease in Auckland, but take off in other

to purchase median-priced house

North Island cities
Auckland house prices continued to ease during 2018, and
when matched against modest wage increases of around
3%, this has meant that Auckland’s house prices became
slightly cheaper. Meanwhile, in other parts of New Zealand,
and especially in northern North Island cities, house prices 4
have taken off, meaning that the affordability gap between 2
these places and Auckland narrowed significantly. These
trends are illustrated in Figure 39 and Table 24.
DEC 08 DEC 09 DEC 10 DEC 11 DEC 12 DEC 13 DEC 14 DEC 15 DEC 16 DEC 17 DEC 18
Years of income at average wage—Auckland
By the end of 2018, Auckland’s median house price sat at Years of income at average wage—rest of NZ
$867,000, level, almost, as it was a year before, but $260,000
(in nominal terms) or 43% more than 5 years previously at
Table 23 illustrates that this increase in house prices and
the end of 2013. The affordability of these prices relative
to average incomes improved during 2018, with it taking deteriorating affordability is not evenly spread across PUNISHMENT
the equivalent of 13.0 years, at the average wage/salary, to New Zealand. Northern North Island cities—such as
purchase the median-priced house in Auckland, compared Whāngārei, Hamilton, Tauranga, Rotorua and Napier—have
with 13.4 years at the end of 2017 and 14.0 years at the end experienced increases in average house prices of more
of 2016. This 2018 figure is still substantially worse than the
10.2 years at average wage/salary it would have taken to
than 60% over the past five years. Only Queenstown Lakes
District in the South Island has seen house price increases SOCIAL HAZARDS
purchase the median-priced house in 2013. running ahead of the national average. Over the past five
years, the average house price in Queenstown Lakes has
Many other New Zealand cities have begun to catch up increased 85%, to make it the most expensive local council
to Auckland in terms of the unaffordability of housing. area in New Zealand, with an average price of $1.2 million.
For the rest of New Zealand (excluding Auckland), the
median house price rose between 2017 and 2018 (December
By comparison, house price increases in post-recovery
Christchurch have been quite stagnant, especially over
quarters) from $449,000 to $485,000. This increase meant the past year where there has been little or no increases
that the affordability of house prices deteriorated from the overall, with average house prices falling to around three-
equivalent of 7.2 years at the average wage/salary at the end quarters of the national average of price. Endnotes
of 2017 to 7.6 years at the end of 2018.

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Table 23: Changes in average house values in selected New twice the rate of wages and salaries in many North Island Are You Well? Are We Safe?
Zealand cities—2013–2018113 cities. These trends are illustrated in Figure 40 for the main
regional markets, and in Table 24 for selected lower-income
1 Year 5 year suburban markets.
Dec-13 Dec-17 Dec-18
change change
334,757 499,205 563,201 13% 68%
Figure 40 measures affordability of rents, by estimating the
number of hours worked at the average hourly wage to pay
Auckland Area 695,210 1,051,762 1,048,145 0% 51% the average rent. These estimates are offered on a regional
basis—taking account of regional wage variations as well as
Hamilton City 337,936 543,446 570,886 5% 69% on a national basis.
Tauranga City 442,061 693,725 720,645 4% 63%
Rotorua District 274,812 412,741 441,722 7% 61%
Predictably, perhaps, rents are most expensive relative to
wages in Auckland, where it takes around 16 hours at the
Napier City 323,102 477,959 526,506 10% 63% average Auckland wage to pay an average Auckland rent.
New Plymouth This rate of 16 hours has been the same since December
345,571 436,669 457,807 5% 32% 2016, so over this period, and on average, rents have been
287,913 375,217 425,543 13% 48%
rising at the same rate as wages. Prior to late 2016, however,
and more or less since late 2009, rents rose at twice the rate
North City
Wellington City 533,651 756,879 813,052 7% 52%
of wages and salaries in Auckland. PUNISHMENT
Nelson City 402,399 555,184 601,571 8% 49% Average rents in Wellington gradually rose from just under
11 hours of work in late 2014 to 12.7 hours by the end of 2018.
Christchurch City 455,264 493,706 496,562 1% 9% In Christchurch, rents have become more affordable, falling
Tīmaru District
276,606 351,623 364,927 4% 32% from the equivalent of 13.4 hours work in March 2015 to 11.3
hours by December 2018.
646,375 1,111,995 1,193,225 7% 85%
Lakes District
These regional results are generally confirmed with the
Dunedin City 290,253 391,098 434,903 11% 50% analysis of more localised lower-priced markets, which is
Invercargill City 203,787 256,433 286,275 12% 40% provided in Table 24. Most notable in Table 24, however, is
New Zealand 461,953 669,565 682,938 2% 48%
the extent of recent rent increases in places such as Huntly,
Fordlands (Rotorua), and Flaxmere (Hastings) and, over a HOUSING
slightly longer period, in Greerton (Tauranga) and Tokoroa.
Mixed trends in rents as Auckland stabilises, Christchurch Local rents in lower-priced Wellington suburbs—such as
declines and North Island cities rise Cannons Creek, Trentham, Naenae and Miramar—have been
Regional rental housing markets had mixed fortunes across Endnotes
more mixed, with only average increases. Overall, rents
New Zealand during 2018, as rents stabilised in Auckland, in Christchurch suburbs—such as Aranui, Woolston and
continued to decline in Christchurch, and rose at more than Hornby—have hardly risen over the past five years.
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Table 24: Average rents for 3 bedroom houses in selected suburbs—2013–2018114 Are You Well? Are We Safe?
Average 5 years ago Average 2 years ago Average last 12 months 1 year change 5 year change
Kaikohe 229 282 298 5.8% 23.0%
Glenfield Central 457 562 567 1.0% 22.8%
Ranui North 388 474 483 1.9% 22.2% OUR CHILDREN
Ākarana—Mt Roskill 470 577 584 1.3% 22.9%
Avondale West 432 557 533 -4.3% 28.8%
Mt Wellington North 470 575 568 -1.1% 22.2%
Otahuhu East 399 497 502 0.9% 24.5%
Manurewa Central 394 504 515 2.2% 27.8% WORK & INCOMES
Papakura East 365 463 482 3.9% 26.9%
Huntly East 246 320 357 11.6% 29.9%
Claudelands—Hamilton 338 417 440 5.5% 23.4%
Greerton—Tauranga 318 422 434 2.7% 32.8%
Flaxmere East—Hastings 282 337 378 12.3% 19.5%
Westown—New Plymouth 346 382 405 6.1% 10.4%

Highbury—Palmerston North 256 322 346 7.5% 26.1%
Cannons Creek North 447 595 575 -3.2% 33.1%
Trentham North 342 434 450 3.7% 27.0%
Naenae South 348 413 449 8.6% 18.8%
Miramar South 484 616 643 4.4% 27.3%

Tahunanui—Nelson 346 399 395 -1.1% 15.5%
Aranui 348 365 348 -4.7% 5.1%
Hornby South 396 408 407 -0.3% 3.0%
Woolston West 380 366 369 0.9% -3.8%
St Kilda West—Dunedin 328 381 420 10.3% 16.2% Endnotes
Richmond—Invercargill 250 279 314 12.3% 11.8%
National 367 444 468 5.5% 21.0% Appendix

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Are You Well? Are We Safe?
Figure 40: Rent affordability—rents compared with wages— These results are somewhat at variance with the results
2008–2018115 around rising rents and rising house prices offered
18 elsewhere in this chapter. One explanation for this disparity
is that the rents and house prices reported here are those

Hours of work required at average

recently transacted in the market. Typically, only around

hourly wages to pay average rent

4% of the housing stock is bought and sold each year, while
12 perhaps 40% of rental properties are vacated and re-let
10 annually.116 This means that most households are not paying
8 current rents or sales prices for their housing. Furthermore,
6 perhaps 40% of owner-occupier households are mortgage-

free, and as many as 80,000 tenants live in social housing,
which is subsidised, and a further 70,000 live in rent-free
2 housing. All these households would face lower than
0 average housing costs.
DEC 08 DEC 09 DEC 10 DEC 11 DEC 12 DEC 13 DEC 14 DEC 15 DEC 16 DEC 17 DEC 18

December years

Figure 41: Proportion of household spending more than 40% of
income on housing—2008–2018117
Auckland Wellington Canterbury New Zealand
Proportion of households
Household spending on housing costs remain steady
paying more than 40% 20%

Statistics New Zealand Household Economic Survey reports 15%

that household spending on housing remained relatively
stable during 2018, and is partially indicated in Figure 41.
It has been the pattern over the past decade that 45% 5%
to 50% of tenant households pay at least one-quarter of
their income on rent, while around 20% pay more than 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018
40% of their income. By comparison, just 20% of owner-
occupier households pay 25% or more of their income on
housing costs and only 8% pay 40% or more. As could be
Tenant households Owner-occupier households
expected, Auckland is the most expensive place to live,
with households on average paying 18% of their income in
housing, while those in Wellington typically pay 14% to 15% Endnotes
and households in Christchurch around 16%.

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HOUSING & HOUSEHOLD DEBT Household debt levels climb to new record highs
Household debt includes not only housing-related debt, but
Are You Well? Are We Safe?
Housing debt tops quarter trillion dollars also consumer debt, credit card debt, student loans and
By the end of September, New Zealanders owed $255 billion overdrafts. This total debt also reached new records in the
in housing debt. In inflation-adjusted terms, this debt is 4%
more than 12-months previously, but almost 30% higher
September 2018 quarter, in terms if inflation-adjusted dollars,
and in relation to household disposable income and GDP. OUR CHILDREN
Data on these trends is offered in Table 25 and Figure 43.
than in 2013. As a proportion of GDP, New Zealand’s housing
debt reached a record high of 87.5% at the end of the By 30 September 2018, average household debt—comprising
September 2018 quarter, up from 86.4% a year earlier and housing debt, consumer debt and outstanding credit card
83.6% five years previously. Housing debt as a proportion balances—stood at almost $157,800, which is 3.9% more
of GDP over the most recent decade is reported in Figure
42. This graph shows the impact of the GFC on subsequent
than in the September 2017 quarter and 29% higher than
in the September 2013 quarter. Of this debt, credit card
and consumer debt averaged $13,300, while housing debt
levels of housing-related indebtedness, but, by the end of
averaged $145,400.
2018, the pre-GFC peaks had been exceeded.

Of course, because only around two-thirds of households
Of the $255 billion in housing debt later 2018, 27% was debt own, or partly own, a house, the total housing-related debt
against rental housing. This proportion is slightly lower than
the 28% to 29% which has been commonplace over the past
is much higher than this $145,400 for those households with
a mortgage. The proportion of home-owning households PUNISHMENT
five years, and is illustration of the impact on tighter lending with a mortgage is not known, although, in the 2013 Census,
rules being applied to investors. 44% of owner-occupier households reporting their mortgage
status did not have a mortgage.

Figure 42: Housing-related debt as proportion of GDP—
2008–2018118 Table 25: Household debt indicators—2013–2018119 SOCIAL HAZARDS
90% September
2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018
Housing debt as proportion of GDP

85% Average per
household debt 130,629 134,272 140,596 150,190 154,833 158,767
in Sep18$
Total household
debt as % of 92% 89% 92% 95% 95% 96%
75% GDP
Debt as % of
70% disposable
SEP 08 SEP 09 SEP 10 SEP 11 SEP 12 SEP 13 SEP 14 SEP 15 SEP 16 SEP 17 SEP 18 145% 147% 151% 155% 156% 158%
income Appendix

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Figure 43: Average per household debt—2008–2018120 Are You Well? Are We Safe?
Average per household debt—

$ in thousands at Sep-2018

2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018
At 30 September

Consumer & credit card debt Housing debt





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ASSESSMENT: HOUSING Are You Well? Are We Safe?


After five years of accumulative housing deficits, which reached 18,000 dwellings, residential building activity in
Auckland finally matched near record population in that region. Across New Zealand, record numbers of new dwelling
consents will also ensure that additional housing stock will be able to meet overall demand for housing. Access
problems around price will still persist, however.

Auckland’s housing affordability problems got no worse during 2018, which is something of an overdue blessing. This
stalling of further increases in house prices and rents can hardly be seen as progress, given the continuing imbalance WORK & INCOMES
between housing costs and household incomes there. The declining affordability in many North Island cities—including
Wellington and extending also to Queenstown Lakes District—is probably predictable, given what appears to be a
diaspora from Auckland. This is not good news for poorer tenant households in these cities, who are literally being
crowded out, and this is witnessed by growing waiting lists for social housing.
Another year of record indebtedness, particularly in housing-related debt, which topped a quarter of a trillion for the
first time in mid-2018. Measured against household incomes and GDP, New Zealanders’ indebtedness is now exceeding
the record levels seen just prior to the GFC. Our saving grace is the very low mortgage interest rates, which look set to
continue for some time yet.

+ Tangible or consistent progress - Slipping back NC No change




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OVERALL ASSESSMENT In Auckland, this has meant that things are getting no worse
in what is already a very difficult situation for modest-income
Are You Well? Are We Safe?
We all have housing which is healthy, safe and secure tenants. There has been some improvement in affordability
Hindsight might decide that the past five to ten years have in Christchurch, with rents and house prices declining
been disastrous for housing in New Zealand. For those on
the ownership side of the tenure divide, this period has
marginally. For many other parts of New Zealand, and
particularly northern North Island cities and Queenstown, OUR CHILDREN
been one of almost unprecedented growth in property rising housing costs are crowding out poorer resident
values and personal wealth. For tenants and younger households, as witnessed by increasing levels of unmet
households, the prospect of affordable, stable and safe housing need in places such as Napier and Rotorua. Much of
housing has diminished. For poorer households and single this may be as a result of a boil over of Auckland’s housing
adults, the threat of outright homelessness loomed large
until Government decided, in later 2016, that more direct
challenges. It is difficult to see these trends as progress.

The unspoken legacy of this era is the record levels of

interventions were necessary. household indebtedness, which has reached almost 100%
This trend slowed during 2018, and residential construction of GDP and contributed directly to New Zealand’s foreign
debt. This legacy will perhaps take a generation to pay down
activity appears to have caught up with record population
growth, fuelled, as it was, by unsupported migration if and when it is seen as a problem. In the meantime, our CRIME &
flows. This new construction is by no means affordable
for those most in need of housing, but price pressures—at
economy and household well-being remain vulnerable to
rising interest rates and the demands which this places on PUNISHMENT
least in Auckland and Christchurch—have tapered off, as after housing cost incomes.
construction rates have caught up.

Demand for, and provision of, social and public housing has
entered a different era, where there is greater recognition SOCIAL HAZARDS
of demand and more deliberate efforts at increasing supply.
There are questions around whether or not the supply
response of additional 1600 public housing units per year is
adequate. The answer to this question lies in what happens
to waiting lists over the next 12 months. At this stage, it is
too early to tell if we are finally making progress in providing
secure, safe and affordable housing to the most vulnerable
New Zealanders, or merely treading water through the
provision of so-called transitional housing. Endnotes
Housing prices both in terms of rents and sale prices appear
to have moderated in the Auckland and Christchurch markets. Appendix

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ENDNOTES Are You Well? Are We Safe?

1 Weijers, D and Morrison, P (2018). Wellbeing and Public 9 Ibid.

Policy—can New Zealand be a leading light for the
10 Source: Police website at
‘wellbeing approach’? Policy Quarterly 14:4, pp.3-12.
Available at
11 Source: Police website at
2 See Ministry of Social Development (2018). MSD’s Household
Incomes Report and companion report using Non-Income
Measures: Background Information and Headline Findings.
Available at 12 See Youth Justice Indicators Summary Report. Available at WORK & INCOMES
incomes/index.html. Youth%20Justice%20Indicators%20Summary%20Report%20
3 Perry, B (2017). Household incomes in New Zealand: Trends
in indicators of inequality and hardship 1982 to 2016. Table 13 Ibid p.5. CRIME &
H.4, p.142.
4 Ibid.
14 Ibid p.5. PUNISHMENT
15 Source: Statistics New Zealand website at
5 Ministry of Social Development: Benefit Factsheets.
Available at
16 Data is from Ministry of Education website Education
6 Source: data from 2013 to 2017 is from Ministry of Social
Counts in the ECE participation section which is available at
website at
Development website at early-childhood-education/participation.
17 Ibid.
cyf/index.html while 2018 data was supplied by Oranga
Tamariki through an Official Information Act request. 18 Ibid.
7 See Radio New Zealand report of 3 April 2018. Available at 19 Ibid. HOUSING
20 Source: Ministry of Education website at
8 Source: Ministry of Social Development website. Available senior-student-attainment/school-leavers2. Endnotes
21 Ibid.
publications-resources/statistics/cyf/index.html. Appendix

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22 Ibid. & Long-term migration set. Statistics NZ have recent Are You Well? Are We Safe?
commenced publishing a new outcome based data set on
23 Source: Statistics New Zealand’s Live Births and Abortions
long-term migration. This data reports lower volumes of
data sets. The 2018 rate is an estimate based on birth data to
net migration than those reported in Figure 9.
September 2018 and abortion data for the 2017 calendar year.
24 Ibid. For the 10 years to December 2017 the average annual
34 S ource: Statistics New Zealand’s National Population
number of children born to a Māori mother aged 15 to 19
years old is estimated at just under 1500 while the average 35 In 2008 there were 142,000 15- to 19-year-olds in jobs
number of abortions performed on pregnant Māori women and they made up 6.5% of the total workforce. By 2014
in this age group was 560. these figures were 121,000 people in work making up 4.6%
25 Data source: Statistics New Zealand’s Live Births and
Abortions data sets.
of the workforce.
36 Statistics New Zealand’s Household Labour Force Survey.
26 Ibid. 37 Statistics New Zealand’s Household Labour Force Survey
and based on ‘Labour Force Status by Sex by Age Group’
27 Ibid.
28 Source Ministry of Justice—Coronial Services at
data set and the actual quarterly measure.
38 Ibid. This data is based on annual averages of four
consecutive quarters. PUNISHMENT
29 Ibid.
39 This estimate is taken from Statistics New Zealand’s
30 This figure is the increase in dairy cows and heifers in milk National Accounts dataset and is based on quarterly actual
or calf the decade between 2007 and 2017. Data is from estimates of expenditure based GDP.
Statistics New Zealand’s NZStat database and the Livestock
Numbers by Regional Council data set.
40 Statistic New Zealand’s National Accounts data series and SOCIAL HAZARDS
based on the ‘Per capita measure, Nominal, Actual, Total
31 Statistics New Zealand’s Household Labour Force Survey (Qrtly-Mar/Jun/Sep/Dec)’.
and based on ‘Employed Persons, Full & Part-Time Status 41 Statistics New Zealand’s Earnings and Employment Survey
by Sex’ data set and the actual quarterly measure. data series and based on ‘Average Weekly Earnings
32 Statistics New Zealand’s Household Labour Force Survey (Employees)’ actual quarterly measure. HOUSING
and based in ‘Underutilisation by Sex’ data set and 42 Statistics New Zealand’s Quarter Employment Survey has
the actual quarterly measure. Also Ministry of Social wage data from March 1989.
Development Benefit Factsheets for benefit data.
43 Statistics New Zealand’s Quarterly Employment Survey. Endnotes
33 This data is from Statistics New Zealand’s International
44 Ibid.
Travel and Migration data series and from the Permanent Appendix

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45 53 Statistics New Zealand—Household Living Cost Price Are You Well? Are We Safe?
46 This data is based on Ministry of Business Innovation and Indexes. Available at
Employment’s Regulatory Impact Statements of Minimum information-releases/household-living-costs-price-
Wage Reviews. These reviews are available at indexes-september-2018-quarter.
54 Data is from The Salvation Army’s SAMIS database. OUR CHILDREN
55 These figures are based on 12-month averages.
56 Data of the gender pay rates is limited prior to the
47 Data is derived from Statistics New Zealand’s Labour Market commencement of Statistics New Zealand’s Quarterly
Statistics—Quarterly Employment Survey and legislative Employment Survey in 1989. The New Zealand
setting for the Statutory Minimum Wage (Minimum Wage Act
1983) and benefit levels (Social Security Act 1964).
Yearbook reports some average weekly wages for
men and women separately, comparable male and
48 The purpose of the Social Security Act 2018 is offered in female occupations. In 1939, it appears that women
s.2 and is primarily about work—to help people support earned 50% to 57% of men’s average weekly wage in
themselves when not in work, to help them find work comparable occupations. By 1959, this difference had
and if work is ‘not currently appropriate’ to help them
narrowed to 65% to 73%. See the 1960 New Zealand
Yearbook. Available at
‘support themselves and their dependents’. The narrative
here presumes that being out of work is a temporary and
dysfunctional state and that the purpose of any financial 1616466095.1502477398#idsect1_1_363283.
assistance is to help people support themselves. The Act’s
principles in s.3 have a similar pre-occupation with work. 57 2014 New Zealand Crime and Safety Survey Main Findings
The adequacy of income support or its purpose outside of
the conditional relief of hardship is not considered in the
Report, graph 3.10, p.57 and p.6.
58 See Topline Report on the New Zealand Crime and Victims
current law. Survey. Available at
49 Ministry of Social Development Statistical Reports
and Benefit Factsheets. Available at 59 These statistics are available at http://www.police.govt.
policedatanz. HOUSING
50 Ibid. 60 Ibid.
61 Ibid. These estimates are derived from a combination of
51 See Half Year Economic and Budget Update, table 6.2, p.126. Endnotes
the Recorded Crime Victims Statistics (RCVS) and Recorded
52 Treasury (2017) 2017 Budget Economic and Fiscal Update Crime Offenders Statistics (RCOS) the Police.
Core Crown Expense, table p.123 and table 6.2, p.124. Appendix

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62 Ibid. 75 Health Promotion Agency (2018). Trends in affordability Are You Well? Are We Safe?
63 Ministry of Justice data tables: People charged & convicted. of alcohol in New Zealand. Wellington: Health Promotion
Available at Agency. Available at
policy/research-data/justice-statistics/data-tables/. library/research-publications/trends-in-affordability-of-

64 Police recorded offence statistics. Available at
76 Ibid., table 3, p.9.
statistics/data-and-statistics/policedatanz. 77 Ibid., figure 4, p.13.
65 See Family Violence: It’s not OK website ‘Statistics’. Available 78 See Statistics New Zealand’s consumer price index (CPI)
at groups at Level 2. Available at
66 Source: Ministry of Justice website at https://www.justice.
infoshare/. WORK & INCOMES
79 The definition of hazardous drinking varies from survey to
statistics/data-tables/. survey but has been defined as by the AUDIT-C screening
67 Ibid. system ‘as is a pattern of alcohol consumption that increases
68 Department of Corrections’ Quarterly Prison Statistics.
the risk of harmful consequences for the user or others’. This
risk may be of immediate harm (i.e., injury, falls, assaults) or CRIME &
Available at
the risk of developing alcohol-related health issues in future
(i.e., chronic health conditions, addiction).
69 Estimates are from prisoner numbers reported in
80 Towers, A, Sheridan, J, Newcombe, D (2017). The drinking
Department of Corrections annual reports and Statistics
patterns of older New Zealanders: National and international
New Zealand’s population estimates.
70 Source Parole Board annual reports. Available at https://
comparisons. Wellington: Health Promotion Agency.
81 Ibid., p.14.
71 Department of Corrections annual reports. 82 Source: New Zealand Health Survey. Available at
72 Ibid. annual-data-explorer/_w_a6ae616e/#!/home.
73 Ibid and especially Department of Corrections Annual
Report 2017–18; Appendix Two: Recidivism Index in p.164.
83 Sources: Offence data is from New Zealand Police road
policing data set. Available at
74 Source: Statistic New Zealand’s Alcohol Available for about-us/publication/road-policing-driver-offence-data-
Consumption data set. Available at http://archive.stats. january-2009-september-2018. Alcohol offence conviction data is from Ministry of Justice’s website at https://www. Endnotes
statistics/data-tables/. Appendix

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84 Data on the number of roadside breath tests is taken from 93 Data through to 2016 is from the Department of Internal Are You Well? Are We Safe?
Police annual reports. Data on convictions for alcohol- Affairs Gambling Expenditure Statistics. Available at
related driving convictions is from Statistics New Zealand’s
NZStat database. These figures vary a little with those Resource-material-Information-We-Provide-Gambling-
reported by Police and Ministry of Justice which are offered
in Table 21.
Expenditure-Statistics. Data for 2017 for Class 4 gaming
machines is the Department’s Class 4 gaming reports while OUR CHILDREN
other 2016 expenditure figures are taken from the annual
85 Source: Ministry of Justice prosecution and sentencing data
reports on the New Zealand Racing Board, New Zealand
tables. Available at
Lotteries Commission and SkyCity Ltd.
94 Abbott, M, Bellringer, M, & Garrett, N (2018). New Zealand
86 Ibid.
87 Ibid.
National Gambling Study: Wave 4 (2015). Report number 6. WORK & INCOMES
95 Ibid., p.6.
88 Chappell, A, Ashmore, E and Watson, S (2018). Wastewater
96 Ibid., figure 4, p.39.
Analysis for Illicit Drugs Monthly Report June 2018, table
4, p.2. Available at
97 Ibid., p.55.
98 Thimasarn-Anwar, T, Squire, H, Trowland, H & Martin, G
89 Ibid., see figure 6, p.11. (2017). Gambling report: Results from the 2016 Health PUNISHMENT
and Lifestyles Survey. Wellington: Health Promotion
90 Source: figure 5, p.10. Agency Research and Evaluation Unit. Available at https://
91 Source: Department of Internal Affairs—Gambling statistics.
Available at
Gambling-Feb2018.pdf. SOCIAL HAZARDS
Machine-Venues-Numbers-and-Expenditure-by-Territorial- 99 Ibid., p.14.
100 See Ministry of Health’s website which reports problem
92 Data on TAB betting is taken from the NZ Racing Board’s gambling services client data at
2018 Annual Report while data on lottery gambling is taken
from the 2018 Annual Report of My Lotto (formerly the NZ
service-user-data/intervention-client-data. HOUSING
Lotteries Board). Data on Class 4 gaming machine gambling
101 Commerce Commission (2018). Lender Website Review p.5.
is reported by Department of Internal Affairs. Available
Available at
file/0013/91111/Lender-website-review-201718-June-2018.pdf. Endnotes
Expenditure-Statistics. 102 Ibid., chart 56, p.13.

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103 Commerce Commission (2015). Mobile Trader 2014/15 Report; 110 Ibid. Are You Well? Are We Safe?
p.6. Available at 111 Statistics New Zealand: Sub-national population estimates
pdf_file/0035/95993/Mobile-Trader-2014-2015-Project.pdf. and Building consents data series.
104 Source: Reserve Bank of New Zealand Statistical series 112 Media house price data is from the Real Estate Institute of
Table T4: Non-banks funding and claims by sector. New Zealand, and income data is based on total average
weekly wages on an FTE basis from Statistics New Zealand’s
105 The average dwelling occupancy is estimated here to be
the usually resident population divided by the number of Earning and Employment Survey.
occupied dwellings on census night, plus the number of 113 Data from Quotable Value. Available at
dwellings where the regular occupants were absent on nz/property-trends/residential-house-values.
census night. Dwellings which were simply empty, because
they are vacated for sale or used as holiday homes, are not 114 Average rent cited here is the monthly mean averaged over WORK & INCOMES
included in this count. three-quarters. Data is from MBIE’s Tenancy Bond Division
CAU rents data set.
106 Statistics New Zealand’s Building Consents dataset.
115 Rent data is based on monthly geometric means for
107 Statistics New Zealand’s Sub-national Population Estimates.
regional rents averaged over three months for each CRIME &
108 For example, MSD undertook an initial assessment of a
household’s housing need over the phone and decided at
quarter. This data is available from the Ministry of Business
Innovation and Employment’s Tenancy Bond Division at PUNISHMENT
this stage whether or not a person would be allowed to
make an application. For some reason the Ministry took no sector-information-and-statistics/rental-bond-data.
records of the volume of such enquiries. In August 2016, Income data is from Statistics New Zealand’s Employment
Newshub reporter Lisa Owen uncovered a scam where an
organisation known as Sanctuary Homes offered people
and Earnings Survey and is based on the average ordinary
time wage for all employees. SOCIAL HAZARDS
access to emergency housing. This organisation recruited
116 These estimates are based on reported house sales
tenants from MSD offices in South Auckland and MSD paid
volumes by Real Estate Institute of New Zealand of around
the rent on behalf of tenants directly to Sanctuary Homes.
The emergency housing offered by Sanctuary Homes was 70,000 to 80,000 annually of a total housing stock of 1.8
often a garage or shed without running water or insulation. million dwellings, and tenancy bond data published by
MBIE which suggests a 10% quarterly turnover of the rental HOUSING
109 This data is taken from the Housing Quarterly Reports housing stock.
formerly published by Ministry of Social Development
and now provided by Ministry of Housing and Urban 117 Data from Statistics New Zealand’s Household Economic
Development. The most recent reports are available at Survey. Available at Endnotes releases/household-income-and-housing-cost-statistics-
year-ended-june-2018. Appendix
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118 Data for Reserve Bank Statistics table pm Key household Are You Well? Are We Safe?
financial and housing statistics—C2. Available at
119 Debt and household income data is taken from the Reserve
Bank’s Lending and Monetary Statistics Tables C5 and C12.
Household estimates are from Statistics New Zealand’s
Household and Dwelling Estimates and GDP estimates are
from Statistics New Zealand’s national Accounts data series
and based on actual quarterly nominal values.
120 Ibid.
121 Perry (2017). Table H4 p.143.
122 Ibid., Table F.7 p.122.





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Outcome Outcome Outcome
Outcome Outcome Outcome Ratio Ratio Ratio
INDICATOR MEASURE 2013 Non- 2017 Non- 2018 Non-
2013 Maori 2017 Maori 2018 Maori 2013 2017 2018
Maori Maori Maori

Teenage pregnancies
Pregnancies to 1- to 19-year-olds per
1000 15–19 year old women
70 26 52 16
2.7 3.2
available OUR CHILDREN
Infant mortality Infant deaths (<1 year) as % of live births 47 41 55 29 40 35 1.1 1.9 1.2
Children in state care Children in state care per 1,000 children 10.4 2.9 13.2 2.8 13.1 3.1 3.6 4.7 4.2
Early childhood Proportion of under-5-year-olds
53.0% 68.6% 57.3% 69.6% 57.3% 68.5% 0.8 0.8 0.8
education enrolment enrolled in ECE

Student engagement Stand downs per 1000 students 38 16 41 18

2.4 2.3
Proportion of school leavers leaving Not Not Not
Student achievement 28.6% 10.5% 19.1% 7.6% 2.7 2.5
with less than Level 1 NCEA available available available
Overall offending rate by 12- to 16-year-

Youth offending 21.3 5.1 18.1 3.2 16.3 2.7 4.1 5.6 5.9
olds—per 1000 population

Adults receiving a benefit as % of
Welfare support 27.7% 8.8% 24.5% 7.1% 24.7% 7.0% 3.2 3.5 3.5
working age population
Unemployment rate Official unemployment rate 12.5% 4.8% 10.1% 3.9% 8.9% 3.6% 2.6 2.6 2.5
Youth unemployment Proportion of 15- to 24-year-olds NEET 22.9% 9.2% 18.7% 10.0% 18.6% 10.2% 2.5 1.9 1.8
Personal income from Average weekly personal income for
$837 $982 $985 $1,136 $994 $1,192 0.9 0.9 0.8
wages & salaries
those employed
Distribution of Proportion of adults in lowest three
35.8% 29.3% 34.8% 29.3% 33.9% 29.4% 1.2 1.2 1.2
personal income income deciles
Adult prison Proportion of convicted 17- to 19-year-
12.3% 5.1% 13.1% 5.5% 11.5% 4.5% 2.4 2.4 2.6
sentence rates olds who are imprisoned
Number of people imprisoned—per
Imprisonment rate 625 114 700 122 717 126 5.5 5.7 5.7
100,000 population

Recividism rate
Reimprisoned within 24 months of
42.2% 37.3% 47.0% 42.2% 49.6% 43.2% 1.1 1.1 1.1 HOUSING
Proportion of adult population as Not Not Not
Alcohol consumption 33.0% 17.5% 31.7% 18.1% 1.9 1.8
hazardous drinkers available available available

Illicit drug offending

People convicted of illicit drug offences
6.2 0.7 4.2 0.5 4.1 0.5 8.5 8.6 8.6 Endnotes
—per 1000 people
Demand for social Households on social housing waiting Not Not Not Appendix
15.5 1.7 24.9 2.8 8.9 8.9
housing list—per 1000 households available available available

Background data for this table is available at Publishing Details

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Are You Well? Are We Safe?




ISBN 978-0-9941296-6-6
Authorised by Commissioner Andy Westrupp, Territorial Commander,
as an official publication of The Salvation Army New Zealand, Fiji,
Tonga and Samoa Territory. HOUSING
Are You Well? Are We Safe? was produced by The Salvation Army
Social Policy and Parliamentary Unit, 16B Bakerfield Place, Manukau,
Auckland 2104, New Zealand. Director: Lieutenant-Colonel Ian Hutson.
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